Puerto Rican pop star Luis Fonsi is planning to dash home in between stops on his ongoing U.S. tour so he can see what he can do to help islanders get back to normal after Hurricane Maria.
The Despacito singer was in the middle of his first major U.S. tour when the storm hit his homeland, and he shared his feelings on social media, revealing the little correspondence he was receiving from family and friends was heartbreaking.
Speaking to Billboard before a show in New York this week (26Sep17), Luis said, "I'm in the middle of my most successful tour, and here I am trying to put on my best face before going onstage knowing that the world is upside down.
"It wasn't until yesterday that I got in contact with most of my family members. My sound guy was able to speak with his daughter literally only an hour ago. It breaks my heart."
Luis, who is a tourism ambassador for his homeland, is well aware there's so much work to do to get Puerto Rico back on its feet, and he has been left heartbroken by the news the La Perla neighborhood, which featured in his hit Despacito video, has been wiped out by the storm.
"La Perla gave so much color and energy to this music video, which has been so important and has such deep connections to the song, and it's completely destroyed," he explains. "We were already working with La Perla to try and fix so much that needed to be fixed. We were working on making a music room, and I wanted to donate a bunch of musical instruments this Christmas. And now, forget the music room - we literally have to start laying the first bricks again."
But Fonsi admits there are "a lot of beautiful things happening", which constantly put a smile on his face: "All people want to do is help and reconstruct Puerto Rico in the best way they can," he adds. "I'm trying to organize many different events. I'm focused on 'What do we do now?' and how to use all the contacts we have to help get medicine, water and generators there, in addition to donating. People have no energy, no gas."
Fonsi is planning a trip back home, during which he'll meet with Beatriz Rossello, the First Lady of Puerto Rico, to discuss plans she has announced to stage a concert/telethon on to raise funds on 22 October (17).
"I'm working directly with the First Lady of Puerto Rico through her (charity initiative) unidosporpuertorico.com," he says. "That's where I've made my donations. And I will personally go there with goods and with a check between the U.S. and Chile legs of my tour."
Meanwhile, fellow Puerto Rican and Despacito hitmaker Daddy Yankee has pledged $1 million (GBP740,000) to Hurricane Maria relief efforts on his native island, and Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez, and Marc Anthony have also vowed to help their homeland any way they can.