Hundreds of people from different parts of Puerto Rico continue to reach the metropolitan area of the country in search of a signal on their cell phones that allows them to communicate with their loved ones outside the island.
“I had to communicate with my family in the United States. As I was able to put gas in the car [Monday] because it was also a bit complicated, so I able to came here”, said Luis Diaz Rosario, 27, a resident of Isabela.
That was also the case of Ediel Tirado, 33, from Vega Baja. “They were desperate (his family in U. S.) because they did not know anything about the family or me or my aunts. I explained them that to we do not have communication, we do not have light or water”, said Ediel, adding that at least his dad, siblings and family members was calmer after having listened him.
But the calls made at Express 22 in Bayamón – where hundreds of people are parked in their vehicles daily for signs – and other main roads of the metropolitan area, not only express the despair of a people incommunicado.
Beyond finally giving a sign of life to their families abroad, many come in search of urgent help in situations that warrant immediate attention. This is the case of Beatriz Maldonado Soto, a diabetes patient who lost everything after her house in Arecibo was flooded after the passage of Hurricane Maria.
“We have lost everything”, said Beatriz in tears. “I have insulin, but very little. The office where my doctor is, the sea took her, I have no more drugs”, said the 48-year-old woman, who after making a call to her son in the United States would reach an emergency room in the metropolitan area, in an attempt to receive more insulin.
“We lost the house, we do not have clothes, the cars were flooded”, said his daughter Carla Gonzalez Maldonado, 31. “We had to swim out of there because we almost drowned,” he added.
Carla explained that the ice they use to keep the insulin cold is already running out and in Vega Baja, where they take refuge in a family member’s house, they have not been able to find a supply of the product. In addition, he said that they made a four-hour row at a gas station to get to the metropolitan area.
“We do not find medicine, there’s no water, we do not find ice, there’s nothing. We’re trying to survive what’s going on here”, Carla said in tears.
Although supplies of gasoline and basic necessities begin to be distributed in parts of the island, today, almost a week after Hurricane Maria, communities on the island continue to lack communication and access.
“If we do not have the appropriate instruments or the appropriate flexibility to avoid a public health crisis or to keep food coming or we can not energize areas of critical infrastructure, then we are going to face the humanitarian crisis”, said the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rosselló.