Weeks after Hurricane Maria, forgotten Puerto Ricans plea for help


It’s been greater than three weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, however like so many islanders, Carmen Pantoja continues to be determined for the essential requirements: meals, water, drugs.

Her drained blue eyes full of tears as she advised The Publish she will’t discover treatment for her son, Hector, who suffers from epilepsy and hydrocephalus, a construct-up of fluid within the mind.

“There hasn’t been any assist from the federal government, no one has handed, no one has come, no one,” Pantoja, sixty nine, stated outdoors her residence in Vega Baja, a small city within the forests of north central Puerto Rico.

“And proper now, no one has come to go to, only one good friend of mine got here and introduced some groceries.”

Pantoja and her forty four-yr-previous son couldn’t depart their house for greater than every week after Maria hit as a result of the roads have been blocked by particles.

She lastly received to the native pharmacy this week — solely to seek out they’d run out of treatment.

“There’s no assist but since there’s no sign, we’re with out communication,” she stated Tuesday afternoon.

Pantoja is now struggling to gather sufficient rain water to outlive on.

“The neighbors… have put up indicators [saying] that they’re the forgotten as a result of over right here no one has appeared.”

Her daughter in regulation, fifty three-yr-previous Rosa Sanchez, agreed.

“Not even the mayor or the Purple Cross, no one has come to this space to ask if we’d like something,” she stated.

It’s clear Maria wrought catastrophic injury on the US territory — setting Puerto Rico again many years.

However the burning query in lots of residents’ minds stays: The place’s assist from the federal government?

The Submit spent three days touring alongside the damaging path the attention of the storm took throughout the island, and solely witnessed one occasion of federal assist distribution.

Eighty-4 % of the island stays with out energy, and solely sixty three % of residents have clear consuming water.

Whereas hundreds of containers of provides have been delivered to San Juan’s port, transporting these items to Puerto Ricans in distant and mountainous areas has confirmed troublesome — initially as a result of roads and bridges have been solely destroyed by the storm.

In San Juan, The Cheesecake Manufacturing unit is delivering take-out to air-conditioned houses. Within the inside of the island, residents aren’t positive the place their subsequent sip of water will come from.

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Within the southeastern coast of the island, the attention of Maria first made landfall in a wetland reserve in Manuabo, the place grey palm timber now bend to at least one aspect as…



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