Lin-Manuel Miranda shares family's storm survival story to help raise funds for Puerto Rico

Actor Lin-Manuel Miranda's relatives and the rescue animals from their sanctuary all huddled together in one house to survive Hurricane Maria as it lashed his native Puerto Rico last week.

The Hamilton creator has penned an essay for The Hollywood Reporter, explaining the lengths his family members in Vega Alta went to to stay safe from the storm, revealing at one point they all decided to abandon their simple wooden homes and seek shelter at an uncle's concrete house.

"My cousin Daniela is studying to be a veterinarian (and) her parents' home in the hills of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico, is like a tiny animal sanctuary - two goats, some cats, several bunnies and birds, nine dogs and a couple of horses," Miranda writes.

"Her older sister Camila has been studying for the MCAT (Medical College Admissions Test) exam - she wants to be a doctor. Across the street is my Aunt Yamilla's home, formerly the home of my grandparents, where my sister and I spent every summer as children. I remember when my grandfather Guisin was building it - at last, moving up to the peaceful hills after a life in town.

"As Maria roared toward the island, my family in Puerto Rico braced for impact. They knew Abuelo Guisin's wooden dream home... could not possibly withstand a major hurricane. For a time, my uncle's concrete home across the street became Noah's Ark, as my family sought refuge there, along with Daniela's animal menagerie.

"In addition to the animals, my family quickly gathered the things that can't be replaced: family photos and mementos colored with memories of generations of Mirandas. Needless to say, Camila's MCAT exam has been indefinitely postponed."

Lin-Manuel adds: "I tell you my family's story to give you just a glimpse of what our island is going through. There are 3.4 million stories on this island, all struggling in the aftermath of this storm, and they need your help.

"My late grandfather's dream home is in pieces - the roof and the porch, gone. Thankfully Noah's Ark across the road still stands. My family was very lucky. But they and their fellow American citizens on the island now face a host of mounting crises - a lack of running water, a shattered power grid, days without electricity and telephone service and access to the wider world."

The actor and writer is urging fans to donate money, "supplies and resources" to the Hispanic Federation, adding, "With so much to be done and such great urgency before us, let's use our own winds of change to help Puerto Rico dig out and rise up. Do it for Daniela and Camila and their dreams. Do it for your fellow citizens. Thank you."