It’s been over two weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, but Ricky Martin hasn’t slowed down for a moment in his efforts to help his native island. “I don’t sleep. I’m in creative mode, trying to see how we can bring love and hope to my people in Puerto Rico,” the singer told PEOPLE on Tuesday at an event for his Ocean Drive magazine cover, which held a fundraiser for victims of the storm.
Martin, who helms the Ricky Martin Foundation, has thus far raised $3 million in hurricane relief efforts, thanks in large part to help from celebrities like Ellen DeGenres, Alec Baldwin and Leonardo DiCaprio. The multi award-winning entertainer has just returned from the island and relays that the circumstances are dire. “What you see on television doesn’t do justice to the reality of Puerto Rico. We are still dealing with four million U.S. citizens who have no power after sixteen days, no medicine, no water, no baby formula, no diapers.”
He added of the desperate situation, “People are dying. I spoke to victims who had to bury their relatives in the backyard because no help came to them after almost ten days. So it is a nightmare.”
Nevertheless, Martin is optimistic. “I need to celebrate the fact that people from all over the world are saying, ‘We want to help.’ Thanks to people visiting [the Ricky Martin Foundation site], we’ve raised $3 million. We need more. The governor of Puerto Rico said we need at least $90 billion in order for Puerto Rico to be what it was.”
The activist remained mostly mum on Donald Trump’s controversial handling of the issue, simply saying, “There is still a lot to do.”
Tuesday’s event, which was held at Wall at the W South Beach, raised thousands more for the cause through donations and a silent auction featuring numerous items such as an exclusive package to attend the singer’s show in Las Vegas and other Martin memorabilia. The last item may soon be worth quite a bit more, thanks to Martin’s upcoming role in the The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.
He said of the experience, “I’m very happy with how this turned out. The story is amazing. To be able to work with Ryan Murphy, who really pushed me as an actor, and Penelope [Cruz] and Edgar Ramirez — it’s been amazing.”
To donate to Ricky Martin’s Puerto Rico fundraising efforts for Hurricane Maria, visit YouCaring.com/RickyMartin