As Hurricane Fiona pounds Puerto Rico, the island is no stranger to the conditions it’s dealing with.

Sept. 20, 2017 is forever etched in the heart of Puerto Rico. Photographs on display at Orlando Public Library are taking us back to the recovery efforts of post-Hurricane Maria five years after it made landfall.

“The resiliency of the human spirit was very apparent in Puerto Rico,” photojournalist Janel Norton said. “When you strip away all of the things we think are important in life, we find what ultimately holds us together is our humanity.”

Norton documented the recovery efforts 10 days after Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico.

She captured the struggle for food and supplies, the help from local agencies and how some people tried to keep their spirits up through the storm’s aftermath.

“I hope that everyone remembers that there’s still tarps on roofs over there from Maria,” Norton said. “There’s still electricity outages even with high winds in the area; there’s grids that are always going out. Hopefully, the pictures can help kind of reinvigorate that need that these folks could use your help.”

The photo exhibit, “Por Siempre María,” will be on display through Jan. 8.

There is a coincidence in the memories because the island is once again preparing to face what Hurricane Fiona could leave behind.

“When disaster strikes Puerto Rico, displacement happens to Orlando,” Padre [Father] Jose Rodriguez of Christ the King Episcopal Church said. “It’s been happening because of economic conditions, it happened because of Maria, it happened after the earthquakes, and it’ll happen again with anything that further unsettles the island.”

The local faith leader has been engaging local and state leaders, and even some from the White House to make sure they’re ready to give and receive.

“Be willing to forego the excitement of buying something and give your money to an organization that you trust that will serve the island because dollars spent on the island can do a lot more for the island than dollars spent here,” Rodriguez said. “Prepare [your] hearts, prepare [your] homes, start having conversations and bring people to the table.”

Rodriguez said to prepare to donate to local food pantries and charities in order to help new Orlando neighbors who will possibly arrive from Puerto Rico.

Local faith leaders plan to continue holding meetings to prepare for any future storms and disasters.

By erick