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'It's heartbreaking': Midlands families react after Hurricane Fiona devastates Puerto Rico

As Hurricane Fiona dumps rain on Puerto Rico, some Columbia families worry about their relatives back on the island.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Angela Crespo, a co-owner of La Isla Bonita in Columbia, moved to mainland America from Puerto Rico in the 1980s. Since then, she has been in communication with her family on the island for decades. 

When hurricane Maria hit her family in 2017 she even worked to get them state-side and out of the storm damage. She heard about Hurricane Fiona last week, says fears that haunted her from 2017 are fresh again. 

"I called all my family in Puerto Rico to make sure they are prepared so it don't happen like Maria ... they lost most of their houses and they rebuilt everything."

Since the storm reached the Island, Crespo has been on the phone getting information in pieces. Because the island is without power, she says her family, who lives near San Juan, is struggling to get calls out.

RELATED: More than 1.3M without power in Puerto Rico as Fiona targets Dominican Republic

"It's difficult to cook, the communication is hard, right now it's no, there's no communication," Crespo said.

Tanya Rodriguez-Hodges is the executive director at Latino Communications. After Hurricane Maria, she says her team helped send supplies to Puerto Rico. This time she says donations for equipment are important.

"Focus maybe on providing folks with solar lights and solar equipment, you know, that they could use. Lanterns, and maybe even possibly generators," Rodriguez-Hodges said. 

RELATED: A day after blackout, Fiona dumps more rain on Puerto Rico

She adds said anyone looking to help their efforts can visit their website or call them at 803-227-8984.

Brendaliz Crespo is another co-owner of La Isla Bonita. They partnered with Latino Communications to host a donation drive after Hurricane Maria. 

This time around, Crespo says the issue lies in transportation to the island. She is hoping to partner with the Air Force or a private aircraft owner that could help.

"We have no problem receiving the items, it's sending them back to Puerto Rico," Crespo said. "We're going to need a third party or somebody that can help us."

RELATED: Hurricane Fiona causing "catastrophic" damage in Puerto Rico. Here's how you can help.

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