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South Florida's Puerto Rican community concerned as powerful Hurricane Maria approaches island

Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 19, 2017

At La Cocinita Latina in West Palm Beach, Max Lucena's love for Puerto Rico is unquestionable.

“That's my island, I was born there,” he says. “I try to put my island's name very high.”

As we know, love often leads to heartbreak.

This time, her name is Hurricane Maria.

Max still has family living in Puerto Rico.

“They were already feeling gusts of wind, of what is coming,” he says. 

With parts of the island still recovering from Irma, his biggest concern comes after the storm.

Thousands are still without power after Hurricane Irma, and the power infrastructure there is outdated by 4 decades.

“Lot of people are going to be without electricity for at least 3 to 4 months,” says Edwin Pereria Vice President of the Puerto Rican Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County.

Pereria says the storm could further cripple an island already dealing with bankruptcy.

“A lot of Puerto Ricans have been leaving the island because of that,” he says. “There's no jobs, there's nothing for them there.”

The outlook may be bleak, but Max says the love for his island, and the resilience of the people living on it, is unwavering.

“We're strong people, we're going to come back,” he says. “People helping people. That's what we do best.”

Both men say the island will likely need a lot of help after the storm.

They're hoping the South Florida community will step up with donations of water, food, diapers - anything they can give in relief.