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Willimantic’s Puerto Rican community worried after island earthquakes


WILLIMANTIC, Conn. (WTNH) — Among the members of the Puerto Rican community in the Willimantic area who are keeping a close eye on the island is a North Windham woman, Yolanda Negron.

“Puerto Rico has been having this phenomenon of earthquakes,” said Negron.

She said there have been more than 800 earthquakes and aftershocks on the island with 17 being felt. The biggest and most damaging during the last two days.

She has an uncle in Ponce in the southern part of Puerto Rico where the earthquakes are concentrated.

“He says to me, ‘Yolanda, the ground just doesn’t stop shaking,'” said Negron.

Many in Willimantic’s Puerto Rican community are also from the hardest-hit area, and they are worried.

“Even if you’re not from there you either have family there or friends there,” said Negron. 

Her uncle has a wooden house which he fears could be destroyed.

“He’s not…no financially,” she said tearing up. “He and the family you know they’re poor.”

Even concrete houses built to withstand hurricanes are now crumbling.

Negron has been spending most of her days watching Puerto Rican news stations and then she shares that information with the local Puerto Rican community in the Windham/Willimantic area through her Facebook page.

She also plans to organize another relief effort as she did after Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

“I’ve already started making phone calls and so forth,” said Negron.

The handful of volunteers she had then turned into hundreds and police officers helped collect the monetary donations.

“It was one of the most amazing things I think that has happened in this community,” said Negron. 

She has no doubt if more help is needed the community will respond again.

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