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Now It’s Her Turn - Gloria Estefan Returns Love With Hurricane Benefit With PM-Hurricane

September 10, 1992 GMT

Now It’s Her Turn - Gloria Estefan Returns Love With Hurricane Benefit With PM-Hurricane Aftermath.

MIAMI (AP) _ Gloria Estefan says she couldn’t have recovered from the broken back she suffered in a bus accident if it weren’t for the prayers and postcards from her fans.

Now, the singer says, she’s returning the love.

Miss Estefan and her producer-husband, Emilio, are organizing a major benefit concert to help victims of Hurricane Andrew, which ripped through south Florida, leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

″I felt a lot of support from my community,″ she said Tuesday in an interview at her recording studio. ″They prayed for me and I felt these things. They gave me a lot of help and determination to come back. I have to be there for them.″

The Sept. 26 show at the 73,000-seat Joe Robbie Stadium also will feature Whoopi Goldberg, actor Andy Garcia and other entertainers to be announced.

Negotiations are in the works to have it televised. The group Comic Relief, which helps the homeless, also is producing the show and will help distribute the proceeds.

The benefit is one of several contributions by celebrities to hurricane relief. Country stars Randy Travis and the band Alabama headlined a benefit Wednesday that drew more than 7,000 people at the Miami Arena. It was expected to net about $80,000 to $90,000 for the American Red Cross, said Sharon Akinde, a spokeswoman for the group’s Greater Miami Chapter.

Boxing great Muhammad Ali and Miami Dolphin Mark Clayton also announced plans for a fund-raiser.

The stadium show is the latest project on Miss Estefan’s very full plate and comes a little over two years after she was nearly paralyzed when her tour bus was rear-ended in March 1990 on a snowy Pennsylvania road.

After a year of painful rehabilitation, Miss Estefan, who had two steel rods placed in her vertebrae, hit the road again and produced a new album, ″Into the Light,″ which explored her recovery.

Next month she’ll release a greatest hits album that includes four new songs. One is dedicated to the hurricane victims and heroes. A new video also will focus on the hurricane.

On Aug. 24, the Estefans rode out the storm from inside their soundproof studios at their two-story recording company, Estefan Enterprises. They said they couldn’t hear the storm, but knew it was there.

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″We felt the building moving. A lot of time it was shaking,″ said Emilio, a former member of the Miami Sound Machine band who now concentrates on behind-the-scenes work.

After the storm subsided, the Estefans donated $100,000 for relief efforts and visited Red Cross shelters and the tent city in Homestead. Then they turned the downstairs parking garage of their offices into a hurricane supply center, stacked with crutches, bottled water and other supplies.

Guido Zirio, 28, and his wife, Tania Quintero, 24, of Hialeah were among those who heard about the supply center on the radio. They picked up some clothes and baby supplies for their two sons, ages 2 months and 4 years, and chatted in Spanish with Miss Estefan.

Ms. Quintero said they lost their rental home in the storm and are now cramped into her mother’s house, living like ″sardinas en latas″ or canned sardines. She said they’re looking for a new house.

″Our house was a rental. We can’t go back. It just blew away,″ she said.

The Cuban-born Miss Estefan, who keeps a high profile in the Miami area - her picture adorns the tourist guide kept in hotel rooms - said she can pass on to her community some of the lessons she learned while recovering.

She said immediately after a tragedy, the body runs on adrenalin. It’s much later when the real hurt starts.

″You’re going to sit there say, ’Oh my God, what’s happened?‴ she said. ″That’s when you need the most support. And that’s what I’m trying to do.″