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‘Bermie-Ricans’ to host fundraiser

Destroyed communities are seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Toa Alta, Puerto Rico (Photograph by Gerald Herbert/AP)

A group of “Bermie-Ricans” are to join forces this weekend to support hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

Diana Cruz-Pitcher said a fundraiser at Tobacco Bay in St George’s on Saturday will offer Puerto Rican food and drink, Latin music and entertainment.

Mrs Cruz-Pitcher said: “We get together periodically to celebrate our Puerto Rican heritage, and following Hurricane Maria we felt the need to do a fundraiser.

“We all have family over there. My parents are in their eighties, and it took two-and-a-half weeks to reach them after the storm. The situation over there is dire, and so we are looking to do whatever we can to help from this far away.”

Hurricane Maria caused devastation when it tore through Puerto Rico in September.

More than a month after the storm, 80 per cent of homes are without electricity and a third of the island has no clean drinking water.

Mrs Cruz-Pitcher said: “Hurricanes are not an unfamiliar event in Puerto Rico, but this one was different.

“When it arrived, it completely devastated our island. To see your childhood memories torn apart like that, to see your family in pain, it’s painful.

“There have been quite a few sleepless nights, quite a few crying nights.”

But Mrs Cruz-Pitcher said she has seen an outpouring of international support.

The fundraiser is scheduled to start at 6pm and continue until 11pm, with a Puerto Rican-style dinner served until 8pm. Dinner will cost $20 per plate, with $5 empanadas and $4 coquito shots — described as a Puerto Rican eggnog.