Puerto Rico facing major power and cell outages, local families in limbo

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Hurricane Maria decimated parts of Puerto Rico leaving the entire island without power.

On Friday the F.C.C. reported 95 percent of cell service on the island is down leaving thousands trapped and unable to communicate with their families on and off the island.

“Nothing, nothing, nothing and I am telling you this. Nothing,” Moises Tolentino said.

He and his son, Kevin, are anxiously awaited any sign of life from their family. Kevin Tolentino said Maria struck first near their hometown.

“It was something out of a horror movie pretty much,” he said.

For days the two have tried constantly to get in contact through personal and national relief numbers.

“I’ve dialed over a 100 people and it’s terrible not even knowing a single person,” Kevin Tolentino said.

The two have been forced to rely on footage from strangers on social media and television to hear about their homeland.

“I don’t want to say they dead cause I believe in God and I know he gonna take care of them but you don’t know if they eating. You don’t know if they have everything they need. That’s our worries,” Moises Tolentino said.

On Friday, a moment of hope came. Kevin Tolentino heard from his mother.

“How are you? I’m alive,” he said recalling the brief conversation. “We’re good but I’ve got to go. I don’t have any signal.”

Moises still hasn’t heard from his family. He’s trying to fight off fear.

The Red Cross offered this information for those looking to get in contact with loved ones in Puerto Rico:

  • If you are looking for a U.S. citizen affected by recent international disasters, please contact the U.S. Department of State Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888- 407-4747 or go online at http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/overseas-citizens- services.shtml 
  • If you live in the United States and are looking for non-U.S. citizen family members affected by Hurricane Maria in the French and Dutch territories, and British Virgin Islands, please visit www.familylinks.icrc.org to find more information. 
  • If you are seeking information about non-U.S. citizen family members in Mexico who have been missing since the recent earthquake, please visit www.redcross.org/FamilyLinks, or call the American Red Cross Restoring Family Links Helpline at 844-782- 9441. 
  • During and after large, devastating disasters such as Hurricane Maria, connectivity can be a challenge. If you’ve put a request in with American Red Cross or the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, please continue to virtually reach out to your friends and family. 
  • Keep trying to reach out by calling during off-peak hours, and continue to send text messages and emails. Continually check social media for updates. 
  • Contact other family members or neighbors who live nearby who may be able to provide you with information.

The Puerto Rico Restaurant in Savannah is hosting a donation supply drive until Monday morning. They are requesting bottled water, soap, towels, hygiene products, and canned food. Those participating can drop off items at 310 E Montgomery Cross Rd #1, Savannah, GA 31406.


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