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New York Gov. Cuomo pledges state aid effort for Puerto Rico

Last Updated Sep 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm EDT

NEW YORK, N.Y. – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday launched a state effort to help hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.

The Democrat announced the relief effort after visiting the island Friday. It will encourage residents statewide to donate goods and will raise funds from the business community for organizations in Puerto Rico.

It also will include efforts from medical professionals to send health care workers from New York to the island and provide support in getting medicine and medical supplies.

Cuomo was joined by entertainer Jennifer Lopez for the announcement.

Lopez, co-chair of the Empire State Relief & Recovery Effort, urged people to support Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Mexico with donations and contributions.

“I cannot tell you what it meant to me and to the people of Puerto Rico to see New York not only pledge support but Governor Cuomo to actually show up with resources and supplies,” Lopez said.

Cuomo also made a reference to Republican President Donald Trump’s comments criticizing athletes who protest during the national anthem, saying “instead of arguing with football players … why don’t we put the politics aside and focus on helping Americans in desperate need.”

Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico on Wednesday with heavy winds and rain, knocking out all power to the island. During his visit, Cuomo said he witnessed “breathtaking” devastation. The week before, Cuomo travelled to the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma.