Cruise line Royal Caribbean has sent one of its ships to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
According to CNN, the company canceled an upcoming Adventure of the Seas cruise so the ship, which holds 3,800 people, could pick up evacuees and bring supplies to Puerto Rico. The cruise ship also will travel to St. Croix and St. Thomas.
Royal Caribbean tweeted about the ship's arrival in storm-ravaged San Juan on Wednesday.
"Adventure of the Seas arrived in San Juan to drop off supplies and pick up evacuees. Next up: St. Thomas & St. Croix," read the tweet, which included photos.
On Sunday, singer Jennifer Lopez appeared alongside New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a press conference to announce that she will be donating $1 million from the proceeds of her Las Vegas show to aid hurricane relief in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. Lopez, 48, spoke first in Spanish and then in English in a speech that was live-streamed on Twitter.
“Alex Rodriguez and I, who are both New Yorkers, are utilizing all of our resources and relationships in entertainment, sports and business to garner support for Puerto Rican and Caribbean relief efforts,” Lopez said.
“I’ve been so moved by the initial responses … They have been overwhelming,” she said. “Nobody has said no. Anybody we’ve have called is right there asking what they can do. They’re all very eager to help.”
Lopez also confirmed that she still hasn’t heard from all of her family members in Puerto Rico. “My cousin and I and our family still haven’t been able to hear from all of our family over there, and we are concerned for them and for everybody on the island,” she said.
As rescue workers tirelessly searched and the world waited breathlessly for them to find a 12-year-old girl believed to be trapped under the rubble of a caved-in school toppled by the devastating earthquake in Mexico City, it became apparent that the little girl never existed, Mexican officials said.
According to the New York Post, the girl, called “Frida Sofia,” was a case of a story that ran wild in the frantic aftermath of the disaster.
“We are certain that it was not an actuality,” Adm. Angel Enrique Sarmiento, assistant secretary of the Mexican navy, told local paper El Universal. “We don’t have any knowledge, we never had any knowledge of the account.”
In the face of unimaginable destruction and hundreds killed, the story took on a life of its own as a symbol of much-needed help. A report first surfaced Wednesday that a little girl had signaled to rescuers from under the rubble of the Enrique Rebsámen school.
From that report came a series of details that included the girl’s name and age, and even reports of communication with the girl. Rescuers said they managed to slide a hose to her for her to drink, and other workers told MSNBC that they handed the little girl a phone and that she reported two other children were trapped with her under a granite table.
However, no parents came to claim the girl, which led some to believe she was misidentified. And, then Thursday, Sarmiento announced that after 11 children had been rescued, and 19 other children, plus six adults found dead, there were no other children beneath the collapsed school.
“We have carried out a full count with the directors of the school, and we are sure that all the children are either safe at home, in the hospital or, unfortunately, died,” Sarmiento said.
President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a federal disaster in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria brought pounding rain and punishing winds to the island, knocking out power and causing widespread flooding and landslides.
The declaration allows for federal resources to be used for Puerto Rico’s recovery efforts.
The island is reeling after Maria made landfall Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane. With maximum sustained winds measured at 155 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.
"Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this," Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press.
Videos posted on social media showed swift floodwaters and powerful winds brought to Puerto Rico by Maria.
Maria knocked out power to the entire island and its 3.4 million residents, officials said Wednesday.
Ricardo Ramos, CEO of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, told CNN that it could be as long as six months before power is restored.
“The system has been basically destroyed,” he said.
Maria continued to churn over the Atlantic Ocean as a major Category 3 hurricane on Thursday afternoon with maximum sustained winds measured at 115 mph, the National Hurricane Center said in an 11 a.m. advisory. Officials warned that the storm, which is expected to turn to the north early Friday, could still strengthen over the next day or two.
Hurricane Maria is bearing down on the Caribbean and is set to pass over much the same area devastated by Hurricane Irma.
A massive magnitude-7.1 earthquake in Mexico City has killed more than 200 people as of Wednesday morning.
Volunteer rescue workers, along with officials and other ordinary citizens, dug through the debris of collapsed buildings, including a three-story primary and secondary school, where they found students dead after Tuesday’s quake.
“We can hear small noises, but we don’t know if they’re coming from above or below, from the walls above (crumbling), or someone below calling for help,” volunteer rescue worker Dr. Pedro Serrano told the Associated Press.
Tuesday’s earthquake is the deadliest in Mexico since the 1985 quake, which took place on the same date and left thousands dead.
It is also the second devastating earthquake to hit the region in less than two weeks.
A week and a half ago, a magnitude-8.1 quake killed about 90 people.
Here’s how to help Mexico and those affected by the earthquake:1. Donate clothes, water and food
If you’re nearby the tragedy, donate canned goods to relief or collection centers listed here at Elfinanciero.com.
A simple retweet could get the right person where they need to be or the right information where it needs to go.
While you’re on social media, consider retweeting aid accounts or locals to connect them to the appropriate resources.
For example, Topos Mexico has been sharing lists of areas where they need professional medical care.
Locals are also tweeting photos of areas where help is needed. Here, someone calls for help on Twitter for a collapsed building in Coquimbo, where many were trapped.
Some have even tweeted about open hospitals and where victims can receive free treatment, such as the emergency room at Hospital Ángeles Pedregal below.
There is also a Google spreadsheet of rescued individuals that’s being shared on social media.4. If you’re around, volunteer
Mexico City officials have put together a volunteer coordination site, asking those interested to head to the Emergency Rescue Squad (ERUM) building in Chimalpopoca.
But officials warn volunteers to stick to their nearest disaster zones and avoid entering other zones.
Update 1:30 p.m. Sept. 19: American Airlines and United Airlines announced that they are capping some of their fares as Hurricane Maria churns over the Caribbean.
American Airlines said it will cap until Sept. 24 one-way, nonstop fares from airports in Antigua, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos islands, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and St. Kitts and Nevis. Fares for travel in the airline’s main cabin will be capped at $99, while premium cabin fares will be capped at $199.
United Airlines officials said the company is adding additional seats for its flights leaving Puerto Rico. The airline capped its nonstop flights in economy class at $384.
The announcements came in response to a letter sent to nearly a dozen airliners from Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, requesting that the airlines cap fees for people fleeing from Maria.
“Individuals and families should not be forced to delay or cancel their evacuation efforts because of confusion over the cost of airfare,” Nelson said.
Original report: Delta Air Lines said it is capping main cabin one-way fares at $199 for flights out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago in the Dominican Republic as Hurricane Maria approaches.
Atlanta-based Delta is also adding two extra flights from San Juan to Atlanta for those who want to get out of the hurricane’s path.
Delta is waiving change fees for travelers with flights booked to, from or through San Juan, Punta Cana, Santo Domingo and Santiago from Sept. 19-26.
Southwest Airlines is canceling its flights scheduled to and from San Juan for Tuesday after 6 p.m. and Wednesday, and to and from Punta Cana on Wednesday.
The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
In two since-deleted tweets, Hulk Hogan called Hurricane Irma survivors who are complaining about the loss of water and power “crybabies."
On Thursday, the professional wrestling star wrote: “No water, no power, crybabies, everyone’s complaining, these people have no clue how bad it could be. Praying for those that got hit hard, lost homes, lives, businesses, lost everything, thank you God for helping those with divine highly blessings, God speed only love.”
Hogan rode out the storm at his home in Clearwater, Florida — a city on the west coast of the state. His tweets sparked a firestorm on social media, with many criticizing Hogan. While still a larger-than-life celebrity in the professional wrestling circuit, the star returned to fame a few years ago when he effectively put gossip and news website Gawker out of business.
The tweets have been taken down but were captured by The Washington Post before they were deleted. Hogan has not returned requests for comment on the statements.
Hogan also noted on Twitter that he spent Friday with linemen restoring power to Orlando, which was ravaged by Irma.
A 3-year-old Florida girl nearly had her birthday celebration ruined.
She was diagnosed with leukemia on Sept. 8, just two days before her birthday — and the day Hurricane Irma was poised to strike her home.
Willow Stine, who lives in Wesley Chapel, rode out the storm with her mother at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, but because of Irma it meant no birthday celebration for Willow — or so her mother thought, according to CNN.
“I was like, I don't know how much more I can take,” Willow's mother, Jennifer Stine, told CNN. “My baby's turning 3 and has cancer and on top of that, my 4-year-old daughter and husband are an hour and a half away in a hurricane. I'm just trying to process all this.”
“The nurses were amazing. They're so wonderful,” Stine told CNN. “[Willow] got to be a toddler again.”
Read more at CNN.
Officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Wednesday that several Central Florida counties have been declared a federal disaster area following the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.
That means residents can now register for disaster assistance from FEMA.Brevard County
Homeowners, renters and business owners can apply for federal disaster assistance for uninsured and underinsured damage.
Assistance for eligible survivors can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs, and for other serious disaster-related needs, such as medical and dental expenses or funeral and burial costs.
Long-term, low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) also may be available to cover losses not fully compensated by insurance and do not duplicate benefits of other agencies or organizations.
Survivors should contact their insurance company to file their insurance claim. FEMA is unable to duplicate insurance payments. However, those without insurance or those who may be underinsured may still receive help after their insurance claims have been settled.Flagler County
People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Lake County
FEMA expanded the list of counties late Wednesday to include Lake County. People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Marion County
People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Orange County
Orange County has been approved for individual assistance. People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Osceola County
Osceola County has been approved for individual assistance. People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Polk County
People will need to provide their Social Security number, daytime phone number, current mailing address, zip code of the damaged property and insurance information.
Once all that information is given, people will be able to look up their claim on FEMA’s website.
Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida Sunday night into Monday morning and brought downed trees, power lines, power outages, flooding and other damage.Seminole County
Seminole County has been approved for individual assistance. People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Sumter County
FEMA expanded the list of counties late Wednesday. People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.Volusia County
People can enter their address into FEMA's website to see if they qualify. Individuals can register online here, through the FEMA app here or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362) while those who use TTY can call 1-800-462-7585.
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