Woman reconnects with grandma in Puerto Rico, then loses contact after Hurricane Maria
Hurricane Maria has caused an island-wide power outage. Officials don't know when the power will be restored and many people don't know when they'll be able to make contact with family. But one local woman is holding onto hope.
Tina Torres wants her grandma to know she loves her and misses her terribly. After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico Wednesday morning, Torres hasn't been able to reach her. It's the strongest hurricane to hit the island in more than 80 years.
Just four months ago, Torres reconnected with her grandmother after 40 years. Ever since, she's made a point to call once a week. Torres says winds wiped out power across the island during one of their weekly phone calls.
"The wind became very, very loud. You could actually hear it, and then the rain. At that point everything was starting to pick up so we got off the phone, waited a couple hours to call back. but there was no answer at that point," says Torres.
Dozens of cities remain isolated without communication. Now Torres spends her days wondering how her grandmother and uncle are doing in the aftermath. It's a waiting game she and many others are playing.
"Are they okay? Where are they? How soon can we go over there? All we know is that particular city is destroyed. It's flooded so therefore there isn't any first responder that can get up there," says Torres.
But reconnecting with her family just months before ignites hope in a time of uncertainty.
It's a Torres thing. There's a sense of strength within this family. I do feel like they are holding on somewhere, whether they're in the house and it's the only one standing or if it has come down and they found shelter somewhere else but I do feel like my grandma and uncle are holding on somewhere," says Torres.
Those looking for answers and have not heard from their loved ones in Puerto Rico can call the following reputable numbers:
If you want to check on a loved one, call Puerto Rico’s Federal Affairs Administration at 1-202-778-0710.
For those who know someone who needs help on the island, call 787-777-0940. This is a radio station that is receiving emergency calls.
Another number you can call is the hurricane hotline at 1-877-976-2400. A tourism company set up the hotline for hotels, guests and industry partners.
Callers are asked to be patient and keep calling if the line is busy. Also, do not hang up if you are on hold. Another option is to use American Red Cross’s website to search for people who have already registered themselves as safe. Click here to search for your loved one.