Donors Seeking Plane To Send Supplies To Puerto Rico Storm Victims

CHICAGO (CBS) — Dozens of benefits for Puerto Rico are looking to a grassroots group from Humboldt Park to ship the goods to the island commonwealth. But it can’t find a plane.

Community organizer Robert Torres says the frustration level is rising at Puerto Rico House (La Casa Puertorriquena), 1237 N. California Av.

“We need to get these items to Puerto Rico as soon as possible,” Torres said Wednesday. “Lives are on the line.”

The effort to secure transport of the items, which include water, canned and non-perishable food, clothing and medical supplies, began more than a week ago.

At last count, Puerto Rico House had collected or been given 10 semis full of essential goods, an 11th was being filled, and two more were on their way from benefits in Racine, Wis. They met Wednesday with Gov. Bruce Rauner, whom Torres said was sympathetic but could not make any promises.

Torres said the group has compared notes with efforts in other cities, and said the problem appears to be national in scope.

Federal Aviation Administration officials have said radar and tracking equipment on Puerto Rico took a severe hit from Hurricane Maria, leaving crucial facilities all but inaccessible. Despite that, more flights have been able to utilize the airport in San Juan and two other Puerto Rican cities each day.

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