Minnesotans in Puerto Rico worry Hurricane Fiona, seek help and support

For Cesar Guzman, seeing the devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico brings back painful memories of Hurricane Maria five years ago, only this time, for his grandparents, the damage is even worse.

"It's sadness. Helplessness. I felt broken because I knew they took pride in this house. This was something they really wanted," said Guzman.

The St. Paul resident says Martin Figuroa and Idaliz Rosado used to live in New York City, but they returned to the U.S. territory 11 years ago because they wanted to go back home.

But the three-bedroom house they bought in the small town of Hormigueros near Puerto Rico's west coast was flooded by two to three feet of water during Fiona, basically destroying everything they own.

"Essentially they had to throw out everything. Everything was damaged," said Guzman.

Guzman says his grandparents were able to stay with his mother who lives about 10 minutes away during the worst of the storm and returned home after the floodwaters receded.

But they don't have water, electricity, or food, and without flood insurance, they have no way to replace all the belongings they lost.

"I'm hoping I can convince them to take a break. Get away from the house. Just regain energy. They've been going at it, trying to clean up what they can. Salvage what they can before it gets worse," said Guzman.

As emotionally exhausting as the experience has been for his grandparents, Guzman knows there are people in Puerto Rico who have lost much more. 

He hopes Minnesotans consider lending them a helping hand even though they are thousands of miles away.

"I really hope it sheds light on my grandparents but also the situation in Puerto Rico and I hope we can recover what my grandparents lost," said Guzman.

Guzman set up a GoFundMe campaign to raise $10,000 to help his grandparents refurnish their home.

If you'd like to help, click here.