Sept 23, 2018 (A personal account)

Posted by on Sep 23, 2018 in Puerto Rico | Comments Off on Sept 23, 2018 (A personal account)

A Personal Account

A man living in Yabucoa shared with me how he and his family sat in their home when the hurricane Maria arrived.

The wind and the rain began in the night. The full force of the hurricane struck at 3 a.m. and the community went dark when the power went out. Through the tremendous roar of the wind, shrill screams could be heard from the people in the surrounding homes. The cement houses vibrated and shook violently from the storm pressure.

At 6 a.m. it was light enough to see what was happening around them. Utility poles and trees were littering the streets.

Shade structures, fences, and personal property had been taken by the wind.

The full force of the storm raged until 10 a.m. The people of the neighborhood emerged from their homes and began to check on the welfare of one another. The man made the journey to to home of his wife’s parents on foot through the destruction to make sure they were not harmed. A natural support system developed, but the struggles were just starting. The effort to get by day-to-day had just begun.

The people worked together to clear the roads so when service vehicles arrived they had access to areas of need.

Yet, many places in the surrounding homes could not be reached.

Gasoline was needed for cars and generators and long lines formed. The wait could take as long as five hours. Gas was rationed so this process was repeated several times every week.

With no electricity, cash was needed for all purchases. Once banks opened (no ATMs were available), again long lines formed and the wait would take hours. Withdrawals were limited, so the wait for money was necessary many times each week. Standing in line for cash and gas became a daily routine that lasted for months!

A form of normalcy has returned for his family, but only after an extremely long period of struggle. His story is one of thousands that was lived by the people in this rural community.



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