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Tallahassee business organizing relief efforts following deadly earthquakes in Puerto Rico

Posted at 5:52 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-07 17:54:03-05

Puerto Rico is in a state of emergency.

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the island, followed by at least 11 aftershocks. At least one person is dead and eight others are hurt

That comes just a day after a 5.8 earthquake.

Houses are knocked off their foundations, power poles are snapped and a famous landmark, the Punta Venta rock formation,- is destroyed. Several power plants are reported damaged and the island's power grid was shut down earlier Tuesday.

The island's governor has activated the national guard.

People in our area are even feeling the effects of these recent earthquakes. ABC 27's Nathan Dean spoke to the owners of a Puerto Rican food truck in Tallahassee.

They are sad to learn what happened, but they are also optimistic and hopeful that their friends and family back home will stay strong and help each other.

For five years, El Criollo Grill has served Puerto Rican cuisine to the Tallahassee community.

Nancy Rosado-Vilchez and her husband are the owners. They have a son living in Puerto Rico.

Luckily, she says her son is in an area that was not damaged.But communicating with him has been difficult, because cell phone towers in that area were destroyed.

Nancy says this tragedy is hard for her.

"Emotionally, it's really bad because all of my family is from there. This is the first time in so long ... more than one hundred years since there has been an earthquake in Puerto Rico," said Rosado-Vilchez. "They've been mentioning there might be one but you never know until it gets there so this is a really, really sad moment."

Geno Arroyo said this earthquake brought back some sad memories from Hurricane Maria back in 2017.

"After what happened in Maria, you know I've lost a lot of family members from Maria," said Arroyo. "I lost my Aunt, one of my uncles, my brother-in-law. So, to see something like this happen again only brings more devastation to the island."

Arroyo says he and his wife Nancy are already talking to other Puerto Ricans in the Tallahassee community about coming up with a plan for raising money and helping their friends and family back home get through this.

One of the things Arroyo also said he hopes to see is other organizations in the community help with this tragedy and work together to provide more support in Puerto Rico.