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Seattle businesses continue aid for Puerto Rico nearly 6 months after Hurricane Maria

Two Seattle City Light employees recently returned from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands where they assessed the electrical damage at four major parks. (Photo: City Light)

SEATTLE – Nearly six months after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, Seattle businesses continue to provide relief for the ravaged island.

Two Seattle City Light employees recently returned from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands where they assessed the electrical damage at four major parks.

“They have a lot of things to do. We hope that the information we provided will make that a little easier,” said Edward Smalley, who manages the Technology Services group at Seattle City Light.

Smalley, along with Seema Ghosh, provided light officials with ways to rebuild the lighting infrastructure while reducing costs and limiting light pollution.

Smalley and Ghosh said they were focused on providing long-term technical expertise to the country.

“We think that with the strategies we’ve learned here in Seattle, by sharing that information with the folks both in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that they can also reduce their maintenance footprint,” said Smalley.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are more than 185,000 people, or roughly 12.5 percent of the country, still without power after the Category 4 hurricane swept through the country in September.

Meanwhile, one Ballard restaurant has raised closed to $50,000 for immediate relief to Puerto Rico.

Vicente Bravo, owner of La Isla Cuisine, recently visited the island, where his parents remain without power.

“I personally was in Puerto Rico putting in family packages, and giving hand to hand, to the families in those forgotten pockets," he said.

Bravo said the government, churches, and FEMA haven’t reached many of the rural areas yet.

He says thanks to donations from across Seattle, he was able to visit five small towns and assist close to 300 families.

“It was also good, and rejuvenating to see the people getting together and just being happy to be alive,” said Bravo.

For more information on La Isla Cuisine’s hurricane relief efforts, click here.

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