Two days after Hurricane Maria tore through the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, leaving millions without power, international pop star Jennifer Lopez revealed that she still hasn't heard from her family that lives on the island. The 48 year old singer was born in the Bronx, New York, to Puerto Rican parents and still has many family members living on the island. She is currently making a plea for donations.
She isn't the only one making a plea for donations and aide to help the residents recover from the deadly storm. Ricky Martin, Marc Anthony and Rosie Perez are among the celebrities using their star power to raise awareness for the country in the aftermath of the storm.
The Hamilton creator collaborated with other Puerto Rican celebrities on the single 'Almost Like Praying', whose sales will go to charity to help Maria victims on the island. Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Camilla Cabello and Gloria Estefan were some of the collaborators.
On the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the host launched the #PuberMe campaign, which started an avalanche of celebrities sharing their most embarrassing teenage photos, each photo resulting in a $1000 donation to Puerto Rico. The campaign was able to raise a million dollars for this.
"What's on my mind is what's going on in Puerto Rico. The devastation is beyond belief," Jennifer Lopez said in an emotional and heartfelt Instagram post. "Me and my cousin still haven't been able to hear from our families over there.
"What's foremost on my mind and many others is trying to figure out the best way to help," she added. "Today, Puerto Rico needs our help. I urge you to support and donate to the efforts of the First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Areizaga. Together we can help rebuild our island, and the Caribbean."
Ricky Martin was born in Puerto Rico, and he posted a similar plea on his Instagram account. His plea too encourages people to help and donate.
"Hello everyone this is Ricky Martin and I need your help," the star said in an emotional video.
"Puerto Rico needs you at the moment. Just go to youcaring.com/rickymartin and help us. Donate whatever you can, just one dollar would make a difference. If everyone would give me a dollar, my goodness. Puerto Rico is in a precarious position at the moment. We can't do it alone. We need you."
As of Friday afternoon, Ricky Martin's YouCaring site has raised nearly $162,000. Other celebrities have been similarly successful at raising large amounts of money, but all of this is still just a drop in the bucket, albeit a rather large drop.
Marc Anthony, posted a similar video to Lopez and Martin's asking for help for the people of the island to rebuild what was lost. The 49-year-old singer made the plea after two major hurricanes, Irma and Maria, ripped through the island causing flooding and ripping trees from the ground with strong winds..
The Category 4 storm, Maria, made landfall early Wednesday morning leaving millions without homes and knocking out power completely. It was the most powerful storm to hit the island since 1932, and has caused untold distress to the inhabitants.
Experts estimate it will take 6 months to restore power to the 3.5 million people who live in Puerto Rico. Cell phone service has also been completely shut off, so it comes as no surprise that people are having a hard time checking on loved ones stranded after the storm.
"This is total devastation," Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico's governor, told CNN. "Puerto Rico, in terms of the infrastructure, will not be the same... This is something of historic proportions." Other experts agree about the monumental scale of the destruction.
So far 10 people have lost their lives in Puerto Rico and as they search for survivors it's feared that that number will climb. The hospitals are currently running on power from generators, but these are quickly running out of fuel as well.
"It will take a while to get to those that need it the most," an aid worker shared. "I'm 54 years old and I've never seen devastation like this. The human spirit is gonna have to rise up real high, and I'm sure we have the strength to do it, but we have to find it within ourselves."
Despite the devastation caused by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, there still are two months left in the Atlantic hurricane season, which continues until November 30. Experts attribute the frequency of these destructive earthquakes to the ongoing climate change.