January 24 2018

Caregiver pleads for aid for sick, elderly in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

January 24 2018, 01:55 | Van Peters

In Minnesota Puerto Ricans like Maria Isa are waiting to hear from family members following Hurricane Maria

In Minnesota Puerto Ricans like Maria Isa are waiting to hear from family members following Hurricane Maria

Even before Maria hit, Puerto Rico was dealing with a financial crisis that prompted austerity measures.

Benarroch, who is originally from Puerto Rico, said the island hadn't yet quite recovered from Irma when Maria hit with 155 miles per hour winds, wiping out much of the electrical and water supply infrastructure that Irma had left intact. There is flooding throughout much of the island and no official figures on deaths and injuries have been released.

"Everything is down. They have no power, no water". A day earlier, it had blasted the tiny islands of Dominica and Guadeloupe, plus St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Delta said it operated just one relief flight Sunday.

"There's a humanitarian emergency here in Puerto Rico", Rossello said.

He said it could take months to restore the electricity throughout the territory.

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and former New York Yankees great Jorge Posada have each set up fundraising sites aimed at helping Puerto Rico.

GANZER: "And anything else you think people should know about what you're going through?" A dam remains in danger of collapsing.

"Communications are limited and we are doing what we need to bring the message, both here and by radio", wrote the NWS.

"My grandmother, who's 94, who's on oxygen, and lives on a remote part of the island, and there's no communication there, and she needs medical assistance", she said.

Christina Villalba, an official for the island's emergency management agency, said there was little doubt the dam was about to break. "We are watching the news a lot, the Puerto Rican channel", he said.

Puerto Rico Governor Rossello has imposed a curfew from 6 6 a.m. daily until Saturday to allow rescue crews and officials to respond to the hurricane's aftermath. FEMA has had sufficient resources to deal with back-to-back-to-back hurricanes, he said, adding that "we've been able to address each one of them".

ORTIZ: "It's been an unbelievable time, really, hard for them out there, hard for people here, too, because we haven't been able to get in contact with half of the people that we know".

Hurricane Maria struck the island on Wednesday, and according to The New York Times, has left 3.4 million people without power, and nearly half the country without running water.

East of Maunabo, in Humacao, people stop their cars along the side of the road near a cell tower on a hill. There's no cellphone service.

ORTIZ: "Well, to tell you the truth, Mother Nature knows what she does". Federal officials said Friday that 70,000 people, the number who live in the surrounding area, would have to be evacuated.

Delta Air Lines said it would fly relief workers and supplies from Atlanta on a single flight Saturday and take passengers off the island on the return trip while canceling other flights.

"Interests along the coast of the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic should monitor the progress of Maria." the center said in an advisory.

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