Local businesses organize supply drive to help Puerto Rico relief effort

"Unfortunately, if we send items they don't need, it just clogs the system and delays getting the items they really need", state Homeland Security Director Perry Plummer said.

When he started seeing images of the hurricane moving toward Puerto Rico, he knew it would mean trouble for his family there.

With 90 percent of the island territory's cell towers out of service, people on the island are finding it impossible to communicate with loved ones on the mainland in the USA, and rescue workers can't coordinate their relief efforts. "Puerto Rico se levanta", said Thomas.

"Because there's no electricity, my family lives by candlelight", Mondo said.

"It's really sad, because Puerto Rico is just so attractive and that's where my whole culture and family is from", Bibbs told Channel 2. "I live in Dorado, and it's completely flooded ... people can't leave their homes. I went through my pantry and I came right down", said Kathy Pagano. "Trees are all down, as well as the power lines".

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Currently, millions of Puerto Ricans are still without power and cellphone signals.

Rafael Ortiz from East Tennessee is an amateur radio operator who is headed to his native island of Puerto Rico with the Red Cross to help restore communication.

"The windows were opening in my house [because of the wind], and my mom was alone", Velez said.

Rodriguez expressed disappointment with Emory's lack of discussion about the crisis. We're also donating Facebook ads to get critical information to people in the region on how to get assistance and stay safe. She's thankful they were not hurt, but says their situation is not good and they need help. "There hasn't been a message from [University] President [Claire E.] Sterk, College Council or student government".

Michelle Lou, Richard Chess, Parth Mody, Emma Simpson and Alejandro Perez contributed reporting.

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