Reading mayor raises Puerto Rican flag outside City Hall

READING, Pa. - A major hurricane led to devastation in Puerto Rico. Now, in a sign of solidarity, officials in Reading are recognizing the city's Puerto Rican citizens by raising the U.S. territory's flag in front of City Hall. 

"When people see in the paper Reading's the poorest city in the United States, then you see the outpour of love that comes from here, not just from Puerto Ricans that are here, from everybody," said Reading Mayor Wally Scott.

The mayor is doing more than just raising a flag. He's also organizing a fundraiser at the Wyomissing Restaurant and Bakery for next Thursday. All proceeds will go to United for Puerto Rico. The money will help victims of Hurricane Maria, including the family of Luis Alier, a case worker at the Hispanic Center in Reading. 

"They were living in there when [Hurricane] Hugo struck Puerto Rico in 1989," said Alier, "but this one is worse than the previous hurricane."

He said his relatives are still without power, but otherwise, they're OK. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump toured the island Tuesday, speaking with officials and meeting with storm victims. 

Some are still critical of the president for what they said is a slow response, but Alier said President Trump's presence could provide hope.

"That's the relief that they hope they can get from his visit, that he would witness the actual condition of the island -- a sign [of] relief," said Alier, "so that those isolated places can get the help they really need at this time."

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