Hurricane Maria destroys San Juan neighborhood made famous by ‘Despacito’

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A report by Michael Rothman for ABC News.

When “Despacito” became the most streamed song of all time, raking in more than 3.8 billion views on YouTube alone, it not only brought fame to its creator, Luis Fonsi, but to the San Juan neighborhood of La Perla where much of the music video was shot.

The clip opens on the beaches of La Perla, then pans out to show the multi-colored buildings, graffiti, and culture that the Puerto Rican neighborhood is known for.

 

But Hurricane Maria ravaged La Perla much like it did the rest of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean earlier this week. In fact, Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management confirmed to ABC News that 100 percent of the island lost power in the hurricane, which was a Category 4 storm with winds of 155 miles per hour when it made landfall Wednesday morning.

“The information we have received is not encouraging. It’s a system that has destroyed everything it has had in its path,” Abner Gómez, director of Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, said during a press conference.

Photos show the devastation from Maria in La Perla and beyond; roofs were torn off buildings and walls caved in. Uprooted trees landed on top of some homes.

After La Perla and surrounding neighborhoods in Puerto Rico were destroyed, Fonsi took to Instagram to share a video of the destruction of the area he celebrated in his hit song.

“My god, my island is under water. Puerto Rico, we are with you. I’ll see you soon,” he wrote in Spanish.

This came in addition to a post he shared with the hashtag “Pray for Puerto Rico.”

Fonsi’s “Despacito” co-star, Daddy Yankee, is also doing his part to help people affected by Maria, even using one of his concerts to collect supplies for those in need.

“#NYC please bring tonight bottles of water, diapers, batteries! At my concert at the @FordAmpConey #ConeyIsland let’s support my island,” he tweeted. He sent the same message out for his next show in Chicago.

Others stars with ties to the island have spoken out about the destruction, sharing thoughts of hope and doing what they can to help rebuild.

Ricky Martin posted a video urging anyone wanting to help to go to youcaring.com/rickymartin.

“Donate whatever you can. Just one dollar would make a difference,” he added.

Jennifer Lopez added on social media, “Please help us spread the word to help our fellow sisters and brothers in need #UnitedForPuertoRico.”

Lopez’s ex-husband Marc Anthony followed in her footsteps, writting on Instagram: “Please help us spread the word to help our fellow brothers and sisters in need. #UnitedforPuertoRico.”

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