Local residents already organizing relief efforts for Puerto Rico as Hurricane Irma gets closer

The National Guard has been called in

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – A Category 5 hurricane is headed for Puerto Rico.

Holyoke  residents said their families in Puerto Rico are preparing for hurricane Irma as best they can, with winds higher than seventy five mile-per-hour expected to hit the island by Wednesday night.

A state of emergency has been declared in Puerto Rico, with Category 5 Hurricane Irma already packing winds of 185 miles per hour. As residents on the island prepare for the storm, families in Holyoke pray for their safety.

“I got a little scared for my family in Puerto Rico,” Marco Cortes of Holyoke told 22News. “Nervous for the hurricane. I let it all go to God.”

The National Guard has been called in and people on the island have cleared store shelves of water, flashlights, and other necessities ahead of the storm.

Hurricane Irma now a Category 5, efforts to prevent damages underway in Puerto Rico

The governor of Puerto Rico urged residents to evacuate their homes, warning them to take hurricane harvey as a lesson”.

The director of Puerto Rico’s power company said Hurricane Irma could leave some parts of the island without power for months. A Holyoke resident with family on the island said Puerto Ricans will need to rely on one another.

“It’s horrible man, with what just happened in Texas, it’s crazy,” said Mariano Gonzalez of Holyoke. “If they stand united, and everyone has each other’s back like how it’s supposed to go, then I’m pretty sure they can make it through anything.”

The director of Springfield’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center told 22News the organization will be working to raise money for relief efforts in Puerto Rico.