Oklahoma organization struggling to transport supplies to Puerto Rico

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OKLAHOMA CITY – An Oklahoma organization says it has been overwhelmed with support following a devastating hurricane.

After Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, the island was devastated with flooding and strong winds.

The death toll from the storm has risen to 45, and at least 113 people remain unaccounted for, according to Karixia Ortiz, a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety.

Three weeks later, most of the island is left without basic services such as power and running water. Hospitals throughout the cash-strapped island of 3.4 million people have been running low on medicine and fuel, and residents and local elected officials have said they expect the death toll to rise.

Recently, the Puerto Rican Foundation of Oklahoma teamed up with Charles Timms, an Air Force veteran, to raise money to purchase LifeStraws for residents in Puerto Rico.

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On Thursday, the Puerto Rican Foundation of Oklahoma announced that it has collected supplies and over $10,000 for Puerto Ricans in need.

Officials say the $10,000 will be used to transport the supplies, but it will only cover a portion of the costs associated with the shipping.

The Jones Act plays a big role in how supplies are reaching the island since it requires that goods shipped between the U.S. and Puerto Rico be carried by ships built and operated by Americans. Otherwise, it raises the costs of bringing goods into Puerto Rico.

Initially, President Trump suspended the Jones Act for 10 days, but that has since expired and the act is back in force.

Organizers say they have approximately 42,000 pounds of supplies that are ready to be packaged and transported to Puerto Rico. They are also expecting another 25,000 pounds of supplies to be collected on Saturday at Plaza Mayor in Oklahoma City.

To donate funds, visit the organization's GoFundMe account.

If you would like to help, message the organization through Facebook.

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