<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - National & International News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/national-internationalhttp://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.pngNBC4 Washingtonhttp://www.nbcwashington.comen-usFri, 22 Sep 2017 22:15:00 -0400Fri, 22 Sep 2017 22:15:00 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations<![CDATA[Demonstrators Interrupt Comey's Howard U. Convocation Speech]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:03:36 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Howard_Disrupters.png

Former FBI Director James Comey took the stage to give the keynote address at Howard University's convocation Friday but was immediately interrupted by a group of demonstrators from the back of the auditorium.

The convocation began at 11 a.m. ET.  As Comey took the podium, a group of people rose, singing "We shall not be moved" and chanted statements like "We are here to reclaim this space" and "No justice, no peace."

Comey stood quietly for much of it, then asked the group to hear him out as well. But the group continued. Another group could later be heard chanting, "Let him speak."

After about 15 minutes, Comey began speaking over the demonstrators, saying he appreciated their enthusiasm but wanted to have a respectful conversation.

"I am here at Howard to try to get smarter, to try to be useful, to try and have healthy conversations," Comey said.

Students at the convocation ceremony said on Twitter that a fact sheet about Comey and the FBI was distributed among students. The flyer says Comey argued racism is not a serious issue within policing, that the FBI under his leadership surveilled Black Lives Matter activists and that he popularized the controversial term "the Ferguson effect."

Comey said Howard is a place where people listen with the expectation of learning from others' viewpoints, unlike most the rest of the world, where people "try to figure out what rebuttal they're going to offer when you're done speaking," Comey said. "Sometimes they will pause briefly before telling you you're an idiot."

The school announced last month that Comey would be giving the speech and taking on a special lecturing position at Howard. It's one of Comey's first public appearances since he was fired from the FBI by President Donald Trump in May, which sparked the appointment of a special counsel to take on the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling.

In his role at Howard, Comey will give five lectures on several topics, officials have said. The topics have not yet been announced. Comey will donate his $100,000 compensation to a scholarship fund that helps Howard students who come from foster homes.

"Howard has a longstanding history of being a vibrant academic community and the perfect place to have rich dialogue on many of the most pressing issues we face today," Comey said in a statement in August. "I look forward to contributing to this remarkable institution and engaging students and faculty alike."

Photo Credit: Howard University via NBC
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<![CDATA[13-Year-Old Accused in Kidnapping, Rape Plot]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:39:43 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_rapeplot0922_1920x1080.jpg

Authorities in Frederick, Maryland, have charged two young men with kidnapping and raping a classmate. Police said a third suspect remains at large.

Police said the victim was grabbed by three young men while she was walking home on Sept. 2.

"All three males took her into a car at knifepoint and took her to another apartment in the area, at which point, two of the males allegedly raped her," Frederick police Detective Sgt. Andrew Alcorn said.

Police said the victim identified two of the suspects as classmates, Edgar Natanal Chicas-Hernandez, 17, and Victor Antonio Gonzalez-Gutierres, 19. Police said the victim wasn't able to identify the third suspect, who had his face covered.

Police learned through the investigation that a 13-year-old female acquaintance of the victim might have orchestrated the incident.

"We believe that the younger acquaintance did know that this was going to occur," Alcorn said.

According to charging documents, the acquaintance contacted the victim's boyfriend on social media a few days before the attack, saying she had someone who was going to rape and extort money from the victim. The girl asked if he wanted to be part of her plan because "it will be fun."

Read more: http://bit.ly/2xjcBXJ

Photo Credit: WBAL]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Mexico Hit by Powerful Quake for 2nd Time in 2 Weeks]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 13:57:31 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17265518544614.jpgMexico City was hit by a 7.1 magnitude earthquake for the second time in two weeks, killing many people. The earthquake took place during an earthquake drill and on the anniversary of a 1985 quake that killed over 10,000 people.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Blackwell/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: What to Keep in Your Disaster Emergency Kit]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 16:24:28 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Earthquake+Kit+19.jpgThe American Red Cross provided NBC Los Angeles with a list of things that every household should keep in a backpack in the event of a natural disaster. Whether it's an earthquake, flood or wildfire, these items can help families be prepared for the worst. The items below can be kept in a disaster preparedness kit.

Photo Credit: American Red Cross]]>
<![CDATA[Dramatic Photos: Hurricane Maria Slams Puerto Rico]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:27:28 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17264782715256.jpgHurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico early Wednesday as a Category 4 hurricane, after hitting the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica, just crippled by Irma, on September 19 with devastating winds and rain. Martinique, a French island south of Dominica, suffered power outages but avoided major damage. See the photos.

Photo Credit: Carlos Giusti/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eleventh Victim Dies After Florida Nursing Home Tragedy]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:44:36 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/HollywoodNursingHome.jpg

An eleventh resident of a Hollywood nursing home that had to be evacuated after a power outage has died, the medical examiner's office confirmed Friday.

Alice Thomas, 94, is the latest patient of the Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills to die after a power outage caused by Hurricane Irma.

The cause of death has yet to be determined. Two other patients died earlier this week. "The Hollywood Police Department is treating all deaths from this facility as part of the criminal investigation," the city said in a statement Friday afternoon.

Earlier Friday, Secretary of Agency for Health Care Administration Justin Senior said the state will "aggressively" enforce new rules that require nursing homes and assisted living facilities to have generators. Senior explained to nursing home officials about an emergency rule that will require the facilities to have backup power that can last up to four days.

The latest death comes as officials continue their investigation into what took place inside the facility. The nursing home reported it lost power and air conditioning when the storm struck on Sept. 10, calling an emergency hotline the next day.

After disturbing details of the incident came to light, the Hollywood Hills nursing home is facing legal action.

The Colson Hicks Eidson law firm on Friday filed a wrongful death and negligence lawsuit on behalf of Margarita Navarro, the daugther of Miguel Antonio Franco, 93, who died after of the power outage, and Cecilia Franco, 90, who was hospitalized.

Elderly residents at the nursing home suffered under "extreme heat and deplorable conditions" and nearly a dozen died as a result of the nursing home's "negligence and failure to prepare adequately for Hurricane Irma," the lawsuit alleges.

“Some tragedies are unavoidable, but this tragedy was entirely avoidable,” lawyer Curtis Miner said in a statement. “With this lawsuit, we hope both to cast a light on the egregious treatment suffered by elderly and vulnerable members of our community at the Rehab Center and to prod regulatory changes to prevent this from recurring in the future.”

A criminal investigation continues while the nursing home — which has had its license suspended — has filed a lawsuit to be allowed to reopen, saying it used items like coolers, fans, ice and other methods to keep patients comfortable.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement set up a new hotline for anyone with information about the deaths or the nursing home between the dates of Sept. 9 to Sept. 12. The number is 866-452-3461.

<![CDATA[DC Child Who Mixed Up Petco and Pepco Gets Hamster Anyway]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:13:51 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/092217+pepco+hamster+and+girl.jpg

A little girl in D.C. thought she was writing the pet supply store Petco a letter asking for a hamster. She accidentally sent her request to Pepco, the D.C. utility company -- but Pepco gave her a hamster anyway. 

Pepco surprised the 8-year-old girl, named Serenity, with a hamster in downtown D.C. on Friday. Photos show her smiling with her new pet and her family. 

She recently wrote Pepco with a "firm, straightforward request," the company said. She wanted a hamster. 

"If I reseive a hamester, I will do better in school, make more friends, and become responsible," the second-grader scrawled. 

Lest her point be missed, at the bottom of the letter, she drew a bucktoothed hamster that took up half the page. 

Pepco doesn't usually give away pets, but they decided to make an exception for Serenity. 

She got her very own hamster late Friday afternoon at Pepco's headquarters on Ninth Street NW. She named it Brick Hamster. 

Photo Credit: Pepco]]>
<![CDATA[How to Help Victims of Hurricane Maria]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 12:08:51 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/hurricane-maria-wed-am.jpg

Puerto Ricans and residents of other Caribbean islands had just started to recover after Hurricane Irma when another massive storm, Hurricane Maria, surged through the area.

Puerto Rico, home to about 3.3 million people, could face months without electricity in the wake of the storm's landfall at Category 4, officials say. Major flooding has devastated the U.S. territory, including the capital, San Juan.

"The San Juan that we knew yesterday is no longer there," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told MSNBC. "We're looking at four to six months without electricity."

Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Russell urged citizens to maintain order so authorities can do their work.

Maria hit two other Caribbean islands especially hard, killing at least seven people on Dominica and one on Guadeloupe.

The following organizations are asking for help in their relief efforts for hurricane victims. 

American Red Cross: The American humanitarian organization is sending supplies and volunteers to help out in Puerto Rico. Apply to be a volunteer here. The Red Cross is also urging people to download its free mobile apps for important information such as first aid tips (for humans and pets), weather alerts and other safety tips. The apps are available in English and Spanish.

Catholic Charities USA: The official domestic relief agency of the U.S. Catholic Church, Catholic Charities USA, is asking people to support their Maria relief efforts by donating online, by phone at +1 (800) 919-9338 or by texting CCUSADISASTER to 71777. 100 percent of donated funds go directly toward disaster efforts, according to the website.

CONPRmetidos: This Puerto Rican non-profit is raising funds to support hurricane victims. “We anticipate the funds will be used first for immediate needs of food, shelter and water and then transition to long term recovery efforts,” the organization says, having set a fundraising goal of $150,000. Donate here.

Dominica American Relief & Development Association, Inc.: This association, which was organized in 1979 as a way for people from the island of Dominica living in the New York area to help their homeland after Hurricane David, has started a GoFundMe page for victims of the hurricane on the island. 

Global Giving: This crowdfunding network has a fundraising goal of $2 million. “This fund will provide relief to survivors in the form of emergency supplies like food, water, and medicine in addition to longer-term recovery assistance to help residents recover and rebuild,” the group says. Donate here.

Save the Children: Another organization dedicated to helping children in particular is asking for donations here.

Team Rubicon: Team Rubicon is looking for military veterans and “kickass civilians” such as first responders and medical professionals to join recovery efforts. Volunteers should be prepared to "get dirty, from chainsaw operations to muck-outs," the groups says on its website. Apply to be a volunteer here.

UNICEF USA: The United Nations Children’s Fund has sent staff and humanitarian supplies such as water purification tablets, tents and hygiene kits to Caribbean islands. The program is asking for donations, saying on its website, “Children are literally in the eye of the storm. The Hurricane season has forced the most vulnerable children in the Caribbean into even more danger.”

United for Puerto Rico: The First Lady of Puerto Rico, Beatriz Rosselló, is asking for donations to her initiative, United for Puerto Rico.

<![CDATA[Who's Who in the Trump-Russia Investigation]]>Wed, 09 Aug 2017 18:29:15 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/russiathumb2.jpg

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Teen Organ Recipients Going to Homecoming Together]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 08:32:21 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/092117+transplant+kids.jpg

Two teenagers who met 13 years ago as children, when they both had rare organ transplants, are set to go to a homecoming dance together in the Washington, D.C., area.

There was a time when Jakob “J.J.” Jasin's and Grace Haddad's parents feared they might not live to see kindergarten. Now, they're headed to Jasin's homecoming dance together.

Jasin and Haddad first met when they were toddlers. They were some of the first people in the world to get liver transplants to cure a life-threatening disorder, their families say.

Over the years they saw each other at summer camp, but their relationship deepened at this year's camp. Jasin said it was easy to fall for someone who understood what he went through as a child. 

"She's really the one person I know who's gone through the exact same things I have," he said.

Haddad echoed the sentiment. She described Jasin as a source of support. 

"We just kind of complain about things we don't like about the transplant, but then we also remind each other that you're grateful," she said. 

They both cope with medication, getting their blood drawn regularly and the fear that their bodies could reject the organs. 

They were both battling maple syrup urine disease (MSUD), a rare genetic disorder that prevents the liver from producing protein. Left untreated, MSUD leads to severe brain damage. Their parents lived in constant fear of dire complications.

"It was brain damage. It was death," Jasin's mother, Susan Pacin said.

The solution came at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UMPC. Jasin was one of the first people in the world to undergo a liver transplant to treat MSUD, his family said. Three weeks later, Haddad had the same transplant. 

Over the years, their families stayed in touch. The children saw each other at a summer camp for kids who had had transplants. 

This summer, romance blossomed. They went to the camp dance together. 

"Over the years [we've] gotten closer and closer, but this year I guess it's significantly closer," Haddad said.

"It was kind of subtly there and then it kind of grew over time, and I was like, 'OK, yeah, there's something there,'" Jasin said.

Haddad has her dress ready for homecoming, and her mom will drive her from their home in Montgomery County, Maryland, to the dance at Jasin's school, Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn, Virginia. 

"I mean, before, we thought kindergarten wouldn't even be possible, and now here I am as a senior going to homecoming, and I'm going to enjoy myself," Jasin said.

For information on organ, eye or tissue donation, visit BeADonor.org.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of family
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<![CDATA['Family Matters' House Set to Be Demolished]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:31:51 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/urkel_family_matters_house_-_00003524_29011830_960.jpg

Steve Urkel made himself at home there, but now, the building made famous by "Family Matters" is going to be torn down.

Photo Credit: NBC Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Donald Trump Through the Years]]>Wed, 20 Sep 2017 07:29:28 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Trumpthumb.jpgWhat Donald Trump's presidency will look like is unclear to many observers. He has not previously worked in politics, and has made contradictory statements on policy issues in several areas during his campaign. Despite the unknowns, Trump has an extensive public profile that, along with his real estate empire and the Trump brand, grew domestically and internationally over the last few decades. Here is a look at his personal and career milestones and controversies.

Photo Credit: AP, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Could You Get a Visa Under Trump's Immigration Overhaul?]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:59:13 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trumpandcottonfeuerherd.jpg

A wall along the Mexico border isn’t President Donald Trump’s only proposal to curtail immigration into the United States. 

Trump also wants to limit legal immigration into the U.S. by, among other revisions, making it more difficult for immigrants to qualify for a visa. The proposed changes to current immigration law are outlined in a bill called the Reforming American Immigration for a Strong Economy (RAISE) Act, which was first introduced by Republican Sens. Tom Cotton and David Perdue in February. 

Under the proposed bill, qualifying for a visa would move to what’s called a points-based system. An applicant would earn points for achievements in six separate areas, including age, English-speaking proficiency and whether or not he or she has a lucrative job offer in the United States.

English proficiency is measured by a score an applicant receives on a pre-approved language test. The higher the test score, the more points earned toward the visa. Similarly, the more lucrative a job offer an applicant has, the more points he or she will receive. The job-offer points are measured in relation to the median household income of the state where the job is being offered. Applicants who have a job that is three times the state's median income, for example, will earn the most points toward the visa application. 

Take this quiz to see if you'd be able to apply for a visa if the RAISE Act was signed into law. A total of 30 points are needed to apply.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci
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<![CDATA[French to Skip 2018 Olympics If N. Korea Tensions Continue]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 12:11:05 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Un-ano-Winter-Olympic-Games-Juegos-Olimpicos-de-Invierno-Pyeongchang-Corea-del-Sur.jpg

France has become the first nation participating in the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to express doubts about going, given the ongoing tensions with North Korea, Reuters reported.

If the nuclear crisis deepens and "our security cannot be assured, the French Olympics team will stay at home," French Sports Minister Laura Flessel said Thursday on French radio. But "we're not there yet," she added.

The games are being held in February just 50 miles from the heavily armed demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, currently trading threats — also involving the United States — after the north's recent nuclear and missile tests.

"Safety and security is one of the most important aspects of Games preparations," a spokesman for the organizing committee told Reuters in a statement.

Photo Credit: Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Mexico's Earthquake Recovery Efforts Stretch Into Fourth Day]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 10:03:33 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Mexico_Recovery_Efforts_Fourth_Day-150608763067600002.jpg

Recovery efforts to find survivors of a 7.1 magnitude earthquake stretched into the fourth day as families and loved ones wait for news of the missing. The death toll rose to 273 by Thursday night, according to President Enrique Pena Nieto's office. 

<![CDATA[Woman With Machete, Gun Arrested at Kardashian Store]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 03:27:06 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/kardashians+machete.JPG

A woman who entered a Kardashian-owned store Thursday was arrested after allegedly threatening employees with a handgun and threatening death to the famous family while being armed with a machete.

The incident began at the DASH store in West Hollywood around 11:32 a.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's West Hollywood station said.

The woman pointed a handgun at an employee after shouting, "Stay away from Cuba," then knocked things off the counter before walking out of the store, police said.

Television cameras covering the initial incident were rolling as the woman returned around 1:25 p.m. holding what appeared to be a machete and incoherently shouting profanities.

"The Kardashians will be executed if they step on communist territory," she shouted. "They'll be f-----g killed. Don't mess with the Castro family."

When someone shouted at her to "shut up," she shouted back, "Do you want to f-----g get stabbed?"

"And this is on the cusp of the president speaking at the U.N.," the woman said before wedging the machete between the store's door and frame, leaving it behind as she walked away toward La Cienega Boulevard.

The woman was later arrested at her home. It was not immediately clear if she had an attorney.

Photo Credit: Troy McLaurin]]>
<![CDATA[Robber Plans to Sue Starbucks Hero ]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 09:08:31 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/NC_starbuckshero0921_1920x1080.jpg

An armed robber injured when a Good Samaritan stepped in to stop his hold-up of a California Starbucks is now planning to sue over the injuries he sustained. KSEE's Connie Tran reports.

<![CDATA[Donald Trump's Presidency in Photos]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 09:38:46 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/trumpunfeuerherdIBIBI.jpgTake a look at significant events from President Donald Trump's time in office, including the signing of the travel ban, Neil Gorsuch's appointment to the Supreme Court, the launch of 59 missiles at Syria's government-held Shayrat Airfiled and more.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[NYC Man Desperate to Find Wedding Photos Lost on Subway]]>Thu, 21 Sep 2017 15:55:39 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/lost+wedding+photos+subway+2.jpg

A photographer is desperately trying to locate a backpack filled with wedding photos that was lost on the subway over the weekend, and he's enlisting New Yorkers' help through a social media campaign. 

Kurt Sneddon says he's devastated that the only copy of the wedding photos he shot at his friends' ceremony in Mamaroneck over the weekend is gone, and has been putting up flyers all over the subway asking people to help find them in a campaign he's calling #findourweddingpicsnyc. 

"It's awful," he told News 4 New York, saying that having to tell his friends that all their wedding photos were gone was "the hardest thing of my life." 

Sneddon has been working as a photographer in New York City since moving from Australia last year with his wife, a musical theater actress. He says he works mainly on headshots but agreed to work a wedding for his friends.

After the wedding, he hopped a train back to New York and transferred to the subway, juggling various gear and equipment. He had his backpack with the sole camera and memory card he used to shoot the photos, along with a mic stand, a tripod and lighting gear. 

"This is the one window of time I can't believe I wasn't more careful with," said Sneddon, acknowledging that there's always a "danger period" between shooting the photos and backing them up on a computer. 

"The trains were messed up a little bit, and I had to catch the B from 145th — I usually catch the D express," he said. "I went local all the way, and I had to get out at 14th.

"But I don't know the subway system as well as I should, and at 34th Street, an announcement comes on that the next stop is West 4th. I go 'crap' — and out the door I went," he said. 

Flustered and distracted, Sneddon proceeded to go to the rental store to drop off all his photography equipment. As soon as he turned everything over, he realized something was missing.

"I turned around and went, 'Hold on,'" he said. "I felt that lack of an extra bag." 

That's when it dawned on him that he'd left the grey Thule backpack containing the camera and memory card of photos on the train.

Sneddon had a complete meltdown. 

He jumped in a cab and tried to chase the train down the line, even though he knew it was way too late. Despondent, he walked back to the subway station at West 4th to ask if the attendant had gotten a lost backpack. He had no luck, though the attendant promised to to call the other local station attendants to see if they'd seen it. 

Sneddon spent the rest of the day at the end of the B line in Brighton Beach, asking everyone down there about the bag. Nothing came up.

"The next thing I was faced with was how to find this bag and how to tell my friends. It became pretty evident pretty quickly I needed to tell them," he said.

"They were as excellent as they could be," he said, but "I was devastated for them. It's awful."  

Sneddon realizes now that getting his bearings while shooting a wedding for the first time in a new city turned out to be more difficult than he anticipated.

"There was a multitude of little things gone wrong that led to this," he said. "I guess I was out of my comfort zone. I didn't have a system in place, I've never a shot a wedding in New York before."

Sneddon says he's using the money he was paid for the wedding as the reward for whoever turns over the camera and memory card. Barring that, he plans to return the money to his friends. He's filed reports with the MTA and police. 

An MTA spokesman says people who find themselves in a similar situation can file a claim on their website, or visit the NYCT Lost and Found at the 34th Street-Penn Station stop. 

The silver lining in all of this, Sneddon says, has been the incredible outpouring of support he's gotten from strangers as the posters and #findourweddingpicsnyc campaign have gone viral. 

"I've been absolutely amazed at the people in this town," he said. "Some have called me just to say they're feeling for us. Others have sent SMS to make sure we know about the MTA lost-and-found. One lady who works at the MTA went to the lost-and-found on her lunch break to 'see what she could do.' Many have taken photos and tweeted or posted in social media with our hashtag." 

Sneddon is hoping for the best. If anyone finds his backpack, he can be reached at 917-826-4838.

Photo Credit: Kurt Sneddon/NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[How to Contact, Determine Status of Loved Ones in PR]]>Fri, 22 Sep 2017 11:52:45 -0400http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/AP_17263009333853.jpg

Puerto Rico's government has asked people who have not been able to determine the status of friends and family who live in the island to reach out to its staffers.

The territory's Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) on Thursday provided a phone number and an email address.

Phone: 202-800-3133 (This line was full as of Friday morning. NBC has reached out to the government of Puerto Rico to ask when it will be re-opened.)
Email: maria1@prfaa.pr.gov

For those looking to make donations or volunteer, contact:

Phone: 202-800-3134
Email: maria2@prfaa.pr.gov

Those communicating with the agency are urged to provide contact information and as many details about the person whom is sought as possible, including name, age and possible locations.

The PRFAA is experiencing a high email volume, so officials have urged people not to send more than one email until the status of their loved one is updated.

Puerto Rico's first lady, Beatriz Rosselló, is also requesting donations for her United for Puerto Rico initiative, established for the "purpose of providing aid and support to those affected in Puerto Rico by the passage of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane María."

"Puerto Rico needs your support. Join us and help Puerto Rico recover!" the intiative said on its website.

USA.gov is also encouraging friends and family seeking information to call Puerto Rico's WIPR local radio station at 787-777-0940. Concerned loved ones can also used the American Red Cross' Safe and Well registry.

In less than two weeks, the island of Puerto Rico was impacted by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria -- the latter of which largely knocked out power and communication to Borinquen.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Carlos Giusti]]>