Limited flights resume to battered Puerto Rico

Joanna Estrada
September 24, 2017

A house submerged by flood waters is seen close to the dam of the Guajataca lake after the area was hit by Hurricane Maria in Guajataca, Puerto Rico September 23, 2017.

Communications and electricity have been knocked out on the island with the exception of select emergency centers.

Jamie Vega Hamilton, 36, of Fairview Park, echoed another common sentiment among the volunteers regarding family members in the disaster zone. "And I just can't believe they're missing right now and I can't communicate", said Neida Llanos Faris tearfully.

It's a lament echoing across Puerto Rico at the moment. "With so much damage to infrastructure and facilities, this will be a challenge, but we remain optimistic about the resiliency of the people of Puerto Rico and their desire to do whatever is necessary to recover as quickly as possible".

Until Friday, he said, "there was no real understanding at all of the gravity of the situation".

Parra will disseminate event information over social media once details are finalized, she said through a Facebook post.

"We know a little more today than we did yesterday", Rossello said.

HAMILTON: "Yes, there's an app called Zello and it's kind of like a radio, walkie talkie so I can hear voices".

"Getting home is a lot", Omar Torres said. It could take half a year to restore power to the almost 3.5 million people who live there, officials said.

US President Donald Trump has pledged federal help for Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. "Whatever you can do to help is very appreciated". "We need a united front".

Rosa Julia Parra, owner and editor of the Reading-based bilingual magazine El Palo Magazine, announced Friday that she will be organizing a fundraising event in coming days to help the island.

One thing Puerto Ricans do is they unite.

The death toll in Puerto Rico stood at six but was likely to rise. "90% of the island is done for".

Manufacturing is still the heart of Puerto Rico's economy and any blow to industry could have a significant impact.

ORTIZ: "Yes, I got in contact with everybody except two cities.that's where the eye of the hurricane came in, and it's a lot of devastation down there". "We don't know how long it's going to hold", Rossello said. "So that's how they're doing it, because the roads are nothing but trees, poles, mudslides, the roads are very, very bad".

Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale, dealing a savage blow to an island already facing the largest municipal debt crisis in US history.

Crespo said a local effort, coordinated and supported, can have major impact on the island of Puerto Rico. The debt ballooned past $70 billion until the governor at the time declared it unpayable and set off a series of defaults. "We need to learn locally about how is it that you function together".

"We survived something that we never imagined", Soto said. "I'm pretty sure it will be like that, because people have the heart to start over again, and they will, they will, they will".

Meanwhile, all across the battered island, anxious residents feared power could be out for weeks - or even months - and wondered how they would cope.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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