Since September 6th 2017 which today was one month and 3 days ago (33 days) Puerto Rico has survived two category 5 hurricanes (Irma and Maria), several sever tropical storms, a tornado and as of the last two days several storms causing flooding. Despite all of the set backs, loss of life, power grid completely being destroyed, infastructure including communications, municipal water, and other emergency services being destroyed or severly weakened, Puerto Rico still stands strong, and the community is constantly looking for ways to help one another.
Yesterday while at the refugee shelter, we had the governors wife Beatriz Isabel Rosselló stop by and deliver pizzas to those people seeking refuge in the center who have lost their homes and their livelihood. It was a great act of kindness to deliver the pizzas while 8 months pregnant, to give the kids at the shelter a little treat to offset the series of bad experiences that they have endured during this rough time. I was able to speak to her aid agent Sato about the conditions of the area that I came from in the east side of the island. I have been communicating and sharing my drone photos and videos as well as the blogs that I have been writing during the first part of September when the storms started coming in. Since then I have been in contact with many congressmen/women and have communicated what I have been able to back to the states as well as the congresswoman from Puerto Rico Jenniffer González-Colón. I have had a few replies and I have started to hear on the radio as of today a lot of changes in the way that supplies are distributed. I have no idea what has sparked the reports in the media regarding the change of tactics, but I can say for sure that I saw aid going to the regions of the east side of Puerto Rico where the eye of the storm entered from hurricane Maria. When we drove from San Juan to Juncos today to check on our puppy, we saw dozens of military convoys going to this region of Puerto Rico. However when I got to Juncos, we found that our neighborhood in the Cieba Norte barrio still has no water services, and has not gotten aid. Our elderly neighbors said that a military convoy did come with supplies a few blocks away, but with no phone, and no communications there was no way to know that the military was there, or that supplies were coming. It is like you have to be in the right place at the right time.
This is a huge signal that the restoration of communications must be a top priority. The elderly are already at a disadvantage with thier waning health and lack of mobility. Without a way of communicating with people outside of the area, it is nearly impossible for these disabled and elderly people to get necessary supplies. Without water services, also with the destruction to many rain catchment system many people in these areas are suffering greatly.
I feel that without immediate relief that these people will be at great risk of serious illness and death.
In the past month I have made many drone videos and blogs to give what updates that I have been able to. Before coming to the refugee shelter I had to waste between $40-50 worth of fuel to come from Juncos to San Juan just to get an intermittent internet and phone signal to upload my media and to send out notifications to local and stateside representatives. I had visited the Red Cross and municipal offices in our community, and they told me that would come back to our home with supplies as well as to visit our elderly neighbors with supplies. That was two weeks ago, and I learned today that the Red Cross nor the municipal workers of Juncos have come to the barrio that we live in.
Along with flooding and the rapid growth of mold, we were forced into the shelter in San Juan, which allows us to also receive internet/cell signal. With what little I am able to do, reporting on the damage and providing drone imagery is the best that I am able to do.
I implor the people responsible for getting aid to the remote areas of Puerto Rico, to please hurry or there will certainly be a lot more deaths.
Puerto Rico continued flooding, slow emergency services and living in the shelter
I will post more frequent updates at: https://www.facebook.com/hurricanemariarecovery
Drone photography and videos will be located at: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLNO_WBOIczQaNFxJeSMnUOEy-L-7G6SNQ
First Lady serving refugees pizza at a San Juan Shelter: http://www.fortaleza.pr.gov/content/primera-dama-comparte-con-refugiados-en-san-juan
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