NEW ORLEANS - Local families with loved ones in Puerto Rico say they're feeling helpless as they listen to all the pleas for basic necessities, but getting help to the island continues to be a challenge, more than a week after Hurricane Maria.
Images out of Puerto Rico show an island in disrepair. For those trapped there, communication with the outside world has been difficult. Diana Thien can only hear from her family through Facebook updates.
"You feel so useless and powerless," Thien said. She has been on the other side of disaster before.
"It's kinda reliving Katrina again," Thien said.
Right now Puerto Ricans aren't focused on rebuilding but on survival.
"Water, food, medicine," Thien explained. "They just need everything"
Getting life saving aid to the island has proven difficult. David Reisman is a maritime lawyer for Liskow and Lewis. He's watching the situation in Puerto Rico unfold and understands the unique challenges involved in getting supplies to the places that need it most.
"It's hard to get goods from a ship onto the island and then distribute it," Reisman said.
President Trump temporarily lifted the Jones Act, which was keeping foreign ships from bringing aid directly to the island, but even that might do little to help.
"Is the problem getting the goods to Puerto Rico or is the problem being able to distribute them on the island once you reach there and depending on who you ask you get difference answers," Resiman said.
While aid is slow to arrive, Diana remains optimistic that the island will pull through.
"Puerto Ricans are very resilient just like here in New Orleans so I know they're gonna come back from this," Thien said.
The Louisiana National Guard is preparing to deploy to Puerto Rico. Senator Bill Cassidy has also offered to send Louisiana ships docked in Lafourche parish to the island.