New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo left this morning for Puerto Rico to deliver emergency supplies, help the community repair its devastated power structure, and assist in relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

Governor Cuomo immediately made available more than 34,000 bottles of water donated by The Coca-Cola Company, 9,600 ready-to-eat meals, 3,000 canned goods, 500 flashlights, 1,400 cots, 1,400 blankets, 1,400 pillows and 10 10kw generators. His flight, on aircraft donated by JetBlue, is the first to depart for San Juan since Hurricane Maria.

"Puerto Rico is part of the New York family, and we stand with our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters as they begin to rebuild after the devastation of Hurricane Maria," Governor Cuomo said. "We have assembled top emergency response experts to support Puerto Rico and help repair its devastated power structure, and we are providing supplies and any additional assistance we can to support the island as they recover from this unprecedented natural disaster."

Hurricane Maria was the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory since 1928 and one of the strongest to ever make landfall in the U.S. Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, with winds reaching 155 miles per hour, knocking out electricity across the entire island and rendering an estimated 3.4 million people without power.

"We commend Governor Cuomo's leadership to quickly organize resources and personnel to help Puerto Rico rebuild," said Francis McGorry, president, Tri-State Metro Operating Unit, Coca-Cola Refreshments. "Coca-Cola always stands ready to help when people are in need. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by the devastation from Hurricane Maria."

The trip follows Governor Ricardo Rosselló's official governor to governor request through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact for mutual aid. New York shares many deep ties with Puerto Rico. Many New York-based companies employ thousands in Puerto Rico at many locations across the island, and 1.2 million New Yorkers, or 5.7 percent of the population, are of Puerto Rican ethnicity. According to estimates in the 2016 American Community Survey, there are 280,904 residents in the State of New York who claimed Puerto Rico as their place of birth.