Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Disaster Relief Slow to Come to Many in Puerto Rico

Help John Rebuild After Hurricane Maria. (John Rossier)
Home of John Rossier, Mayaguez, PR
According to John Rossier, resident of Mayaguea, Puerto Rico the island has yet to be declared a disaster area.

After 12 days with no help, he woke up yesterday morning after a torrential downpour dropped four more inches of water on his already destroyed home.  "I woke up to maggots crawling all over the floor! One can only imagine where they're coming from; I'm going to be sick," he says.  "The news says you have all kinds of help. Well, sitting amidst this destruction I can tell you the true answer; NO, NO, NO HELP!"

The strongest storm to hit the US in decades, Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico on September 20th.  The entire island was left without power and around 95% without reliable cell service.  Long neglected, the island territory's infrastructure and electrical grid were in a state of decay, to begin with.  Preliminary estimates indicate $85 billion in damages.

After retiring six years ago due to health issues, Rossier move to Puerto Rico.  He is disabled and has significant healthcare needs and his family believes it is no longer safe for him to be there.  His house is flooded and uninhabitable, yet he is forced to stay in it.  He is sleeping in a chair and having difficulty obtaining potable water and food.  His situation is not unique.

The airport closest to John, is in Aguadilla and is one of the hardest hit.  Relief flights are random and spotty, at best, selling out in minutes.  Provided there is not another cancellation, he will get off the island on Friday, October 6th.

According to his son, Lucas in spite of spotty phone and electrical service they have been able to communicate, periodically.

There is currently a fund raiser for him at  All funds raised will be used for air transport for him and his dogs, to make housing arrangements, pruchase clothing, food, and to replace his belongings that were destroyed.

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