Nearly a week later, millions still need help in Puerto Rico

It's been six days and counting, and most of Puerto Rico remains without power after Hurricane Maria flooded streets, smashed poles and snarled power lines.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO -- It’s been six days and counting, and most of Puerto Rico remains without power after Hurricane Maria flooded streets, smashed poles and snarled power lines.

It could take months before the power is back on and many in the US are worried and waiting to hear from loved ones. Melanie Lopez has an uncle in Bayamon.

“He's in his 90s and he needs an oxygen tank in order to breathe,” Lopez said. “His medications, some of them need to be in the fridge.”

With roads around the island washed out, bridges and communication lines down and supplies dwindling, federal agencies are ramping up their response.

FEMA says the Department of Defense has evacuated more than 150 patients to the Continental US, but the Trump Administration has come under fire by critics saying the recovery effort has fallen short.

“Where’s the Army?” one woman trapped the San Juan Airport said. “We’re fed up. They’re going to riot!”

Hundreds of people have been sleeping at the airport in San Juan waiting for a flight.

The power is still out on nearly all the island after Hurricane Maria knocked out a grid that was already considered antiquated compared to the US mainland.

Power has been restored to a handful of hospitals and their surrounding areas as of Monday afternoon, but Public Affairs Secretary Ramon Rosario said it will take months to fully restore power to the island.

Supermarkets are gradually re-opening, but many customers are going home disappointed as the island struggles to get back to normal. The few that have opened have limited hours, long lines and empty shelves.

Drinking water is nowhere to be found.

Gov. Ricardo Rossello said Monday that some ports will reopen and that will help commerce.

Last night, President Donald Trump tweeted, writing in part that “Much of the island was destroyed, with billions of dollars owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities – and doing well.”

So far, $1 billion has been earmarked for recovery.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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