As local leaders try to help Hurricane Fiona victims in Puerto Rico, they’re also faced with another challenge – preparing themselves for what Tropical Storm Ian could leave behind.

Continued gatherings in Orlando are finding ways to best help people in Puerto Rico.

“To be displaced by Fiona, to come to Orlando and then ride out a possible Hurricane Ian that is not – we don’t want that for anybody,” Father Jose Rodriguez of Christ the King Episcopal Church said.

Rodriguez says his church, local groups and city offices have been getting dozens of calls from the island that’s currently much without power and water.

About a dozen flights arrived to Orlando Friday.

“Keep people on the island, not because we don’t want them here, but because it isn’t easy here,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez recently sent out an urgent email to local partners, highlighting Florida’s housing crisis and shelters at capacity.

He says on top of that Tropical Storm Ian is threatening counties everywhere.

It’s why he believes encouraging Puerto Ricans to leave could do more harm than good.

“If you’re not being relocated here by an agency that does relocation, you’re bringing people here to suffer,” Rodriguez said. “You’re bringing people here to get further traumatized and then you’re making a burden – not on the community because the community is always here to respond – but on the family members of those individuals that bring them here.”

Orlando organizations are connecting Puerto Ricans with resources on the island.

“If after you’ve weighed all your alternatives, you need to come to Orlando then obviously we will welcome you and help you settle here,” Rodriguez said.

While Central Florida residents are helping Hurricane Fiona victims, they shouldn’t forget to help themselves as Tropical Storm Ian tracks toward the state.

“You can help people in Puerto Rico, but please please please get gasoline, get your kits together,” Rodriguez said. “The last thing you want to do is to end up displaced because you lost track of your own preparedness.”

By erick