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Make storm victims feel at home here

One of the best aspects of living in the area is the degree of diversity in the community.

Stroll along Main Street during, say, Willimantic’s Third Thursday Street Festival and a plethora of languages and dialects can be heard.

In less socially enlightened locales, such cultural diversity isn’t embraced the way it is in places like the Thread City.

In coming weeks, the local population base just might grow a bit more diverse for reasons no one wishes.

Last month, Hurricane Maria center-punched the island of Puerto Rico, causing an unprecedented amount of damage and destruction there.

This, quite literally, plunged the island’s population of 3.7 million into the dark ages.

Weeks later, much of the island still has no power, no steady source of fresh water. Life there is miserable, if not downright dangerous.

Amid much criticism to the federal government, help for the Spanish-speaking people of this U.S. territory appears to have been much slower than aid for U.S. mainland states Texas and Florida, themselves ravaged by tropical tempests last month.

All of this has folks in Puerto Rico mulling relocation to the mainland until their homeland is up and running.

With a large contingent of folks hailing from Puerto Rico, Willimantic stands to be one of many American municipalities and cities expecting an influx of storm victims looking to temporarily relocate.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, whose openness toward refugees in general has garnered him kudos from human rights folks, has urged towns and cities to be ready.

Windham is getting ready if and when it is needed.

The schools are preparing for an influx of children, who will have to move in with local relatives.

They will need to be educated. Their families will need our help.

Most of all, however, these visitors will need our compassion.

Be a good neighbor to them. They are Americans, after all.

Plus, they’ve been through a lot.


This article appears in our print edition and in our Chronicle e-edition (available at 4 p.m. weekdays, 8 a.m. Saturday) complete with all photos and special sections.

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