Puerto Ricans in Tampa anxiously watching Fiona

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Though it may be more 1,000 miles away, Floridians are keeping a wary eye on Fiona, especially Puerto Ricans with family on the island.

“We have been monitoring it to the extreme for the past few hours,” said Evelio Ortero. “We got to see what happens.”

Ortero is the founder of Course of Action Foundation. The non-profit takes on a variety of causes, including humanitarian missions around the globe.

Fiona will hit Puerto Rico nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria ravaged the country.

“Then in 2017, as we all know, Maria hit Puerto Rico in a grotesque, massive way,” Ortero said. “And it pretty much got all our assets and will committed to it.”

Course of Action was founded nearly a decade ago — Maria was a massive job for the group.

“We had five warehouses around the city,” Ortero explained. “The average of 40,000 square feet each.”

Ortero himself has family in Puerto Rico.

“There is a concern because of the water,” Ortero said. “Because of the possible flooding.”

Ortero said his team is ready to help if need be, but are waiting for confirmation first.

“First and foremost ask if there is a need for help,” Ortero said. “Because if there isn’t any need we don’t want to be in the way.”

He said Course of Action provided 2.5 million pounds of aid to Puerto Rico after Maria. Many in Fiona’s path are just as stressed.

“[It’s the] same feeling of daunting pressure as Maria,” Ortero said.

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