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FDNY & NYPD to provide relief in Puerto Rico

Amid the devastation on Puerto Rico, islanders are still able to give New York’s Task Force 1 a warm welcome.

The 27-strong urban search and rescue team — made up of FDNY and NYPD first responders — has been criss-crossing the commonwealth for more than a week searching for survivors and those in need of evacuation.

With each step of the way, they’re greeted with big smiles and thumbs up from locals as they see the words “New York” on the team’s t-shirts, FDNY Capt. Liam Flaherty said.


“It’s wonderful to see the resilience of the pople, their spirits are great. As soon as they see we’re from New York, the smiles come out,” Flaherty said.

“We’ve met dozens who have lived in the Bronx or Brooklyn or have family in the city, it’s pretty nice to see their reactions when we are out and about,” said the captain of Rescue 2 in Brooklyn.

“Given the ties between Puerto Rico and New York, it’s really meaningful for us to be down here helping them out.”

Flaherty and others members of Task Force 1 spent several days this week in the town of Utuado, where a washed out road and bridge made it impossible for locals to evacuate or search for food and clean drinking water.

Since then, they’ve moved farther west, into Moca and Rincon, to survey every single town.

“The west didn’t get hit quite as hard, given the storm’s trajectory,” Flaherty said.

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(Photo: Todd Maisel)

But the western areas are suffering just as much, because they’ve gone without supplies the longest, he added.

“The power is out everywhere, and a lot of the supplies are coming in east to west, so it’s taking a little longer to get here. They are in need of water, more than anything,” he said.