After Hurricane Maria - Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria

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I want to share a quick update. I only have access via my phone, and only in San Juan, so this post will be quick and basic.  Below is a short video from my little village at El Malecón de Naguabo to show you a glimpse of what it looks like on the ground. I will share more as soon as I am able.

Hurricane Maria packed a punch. I've had very little access to news, so it's hard to tell what is going on in terms of emergency response. There is some sense of normalcy in San Juan, but the damage is significant here too. I have been in San Juan twice since the storm, as my neighbor is terminally ill and his partner and I had to get him to the hospital. We were at the VA hospital for over 30 hours to get him admitted, and have now returned in hopes of visiting him.

The one working gas pump in the village

The one working gas pump in the village

In order to get back to San Juan, we waited over 14 hours in line to get gas, which is being rationed and only available at the very few stations that weren't completely destroyed.  The police are patrolling the lines for gas which stretch for miles.

While waiting for gas yesterday, the first Red Cross truck made it to our neighborhood where they started distributing MREs.  

We are completely without power, and many communities do not have running water. It appears that all of the fruit trees have been destroyed, along with many others. It's very eerie to look around as every tree on every hillside has been stripped of their leaves and is broken or mangled. 

Many people have asked me what they can send or how they can help. Honestly, I'm not sure what the best option the help is right now, but I think donating to the Red Cross is probably the best option.

People are becoming desperate. Any stores or stations that are open are only able to accept cash, and working ATMs are scarce. Combining the lack of gas for transportation and the lack of access to cash, many are forced to go without basic essentials.

It was reported in a local paper that there have been 155 suicides since the storm. I don't know what we can do to rally the mental health community, but we need crisis counselors and organization. The police and military have radios to communicate, but civilians on most of the island are without phones or any access to communications. 

I'll update with more when I can. Best wishes to everyone in the Caribbean, Florida, Texas, Mexico, and everywhere there is suffering.