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October 12, 2017

Philly opens center to help Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria

Hurricanes Disasters
Carroll - Philadelphia Skyline Buildings Thom Carroll/PhillyVoice

The Philadelphia skyline seen from the 'Dalian on the Park' building above Whole Foods Market near the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Philadelphia officials announced a service center this week for those who arrived here from Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Those who were displaced by the storm can register at the center with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and seek help there from multiple agencies, Philadelphia's Office of Emergency Management said Wednesday.

RELATED: Supplies collected by Camden volunteers delivered to Puerto Rican authorities

The city opened the center Wednesday inside the Hispanic Association of Contractors and Enterprises headquarters on Allegheny Avenue in North Philadelphia.

People can also tell the services center of any immediate housing needs and seek assistance there with food and medical care, officials added.

OEM Director Dan Bradley told WHYY News that because of how many people with ties to Puerto Rico live in the Philadelphia area, the city is expecting a significant amount of people to arrive here in need of help.

"That’s really one of the reasons we are establishing this center; we need a central location to send these individuals to," he said. "We need folks to say, 'I’m here, I’m displaced, and I’m in need.'”

Forty-five deaths have been linked to Maria since it hit the island three weeks ago. About 85 percent of residents still lack electricity; one-third of the island lacks clean, running water; and just 8 percent of its roads are passable, The Associated Press reported.

Donations will be directed to Unidos Pa' Puerto Rico, launched by Philadelphia-area nonprofit El Concilio to raise money for Maria relief.

Details on how to donate can be found here.