Brooklyn residents pack care packages for Puerto Rico ahead of Hurricane Irma

SUNSET PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- Bracing for the most powerful Atlantic Ocean hurricane in recorded history, anxiety is mounting in Puerto Rico and beyond.

"We have to be proactive rather than reactive," Assem. Felix Ortiz said. "Everyone is very tense about what they saw with Harvey and also what they saw with Sandy in New York."

With Irma's trajectory expected to bring devastating winds and torrential rain to the U.S. territory, Assemblyman Ortiz and a host of volunteers have already begun collecting supplies.

"As a community we pull our resources together and send out this like love package to make sure that they are safe," said Dennis Flores, a resident.

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Speaking via FaceTime, Puerto Rican Senator Carmelo Rios discussed coordinated efforts with the White House and President Trump declaring a state of emergency.

"We already had some communications with the White House," Sen. Rios said. "We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the best."

With it now only a matter of time before the category 5 storm arrives, many agree Puerto Rico will need sustained help.

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"The people of Puerto Rico they are in a very devastating economic situation right now, having a hurricane of that magnitude will put more pressure on the economics in Puerto Rico, so I hope that people can be sensitive to that cause," Ortiz said.

"We fear another Katrina, Puerto Rico can fall on the blind spot, sometimes there can be a lack of response and we can't just depend on the Red Cross to do what they did in Haiti, it could happen again in Puerto Rico," Flores said.

Donations are being accepted at 50th and Fourth Avenue in Sunset Park through Wednesday evening.

Ortiz said he's working with UPS and other delivery services to transport the items to Puerto Rico as soon as possible after the storm passes.
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