Puerto Rican mayor, Chicago emergency officials discuss how to help island rebuild, rebound

CHICAGO (WLS) -- One year after a hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, the mayor of one of the island's cities met with Chicago emergency management officials to get ideas on how to better prepare for any future mass emergencies.

Puerto Rico resident Monique Carridine said daily life on the island is still a daily struggle one year later. The Chicago native rode out the storm at her home in Humacao after living on the Caribbean island for five years.

"When that hurricane was absolutely devastating our community, those were some of the scariest moments and most traumatic moments of my life," she said.

Her please to help the commonwealth and territory of the United States come as the city welcomed Julie Nazario, mayor of the Puerto Rican town Loiza, to tour Chicago's 911 center and share lessons learned about emergency relief efforts.

"I'm grateful for the invitation and for the help," Nazario said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel and a Chicago delegation visited the city located on the northeastern coast in March to see the damage and deliver aid.

"We had 2,000 evacuees from Puerto Rico who made their way here to Chicago," said Alicia Tate-Nadeau, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

Despite humanitarian efforts, some 1,500 people and families in the devastated small town are still living under blue tarps in makeshift homes.

"We were shocked by what we saw," said Fernando Grillo, from the Puerto Rican Agenda.

The mayor's visit follows the upward revision of the death toll from Hurricane Maria. The increase from 64 to nearly 3,000 dead comes from a George Washington University study that took into account the people who died in the time following the hurricane because of lack of access to water, medical care and power.
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