Local woman helping people in the CSRA communicate with Hurricane Maria victims

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– it’s been days since most have heard from family members in Puerto Rico. hurricane Maria pounded the island last week, killing at least ten and leaving most without power. A local woman is trying to help.

For two locals, the past week has been anything but easy. With family in Puerto Rico who are suffering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Alexis Almodovar and Marie Cruz finally got the news they have been praying for Monday morning.

“I got a phone call from my sister, and she told me, ‘Guess what. Mom is ok.” It been like three days since we have slept,” Almodovar said.

Like most others, he didn’t get the news directly from his family, but by word travelling. More than 95% of the wireless cell sites are down on the island. Cruz told me many are travelling to Puerto Rico’s capitol, San Juan, for service. .

“It is about two hours from where my family is at. The issue is where my grandparents are at and where a lot of people’s family members are at, the bridges are collapsing, or they’re scared for them to collapse, so they are not letting people drive,” Cruz said.

“They are trying to go up on mountains to find that little spot, a hot spot to stay. They can’t call. Only text,” Almodovar added.

Cruz, though, is taking matters into her own hands. She leaves for Ponce Friday and has a list of names she is bringing with her.

“When I’m going through the shelters to find my family, I’m just going to give over that list, and see if there is some way I can get communication to let them know they are ok,” Cruz explained. She plans to communicate using an app called Zello.

Cruz is also bringing extra food and supplies for her family and the shelters. “They need solar lights, flash lights, clean water, batteries, candles, diapers. A lot of things just got wet,” Cruz explained. “I haven’t been able to sleep. I have barely been able to eat. I want to try my best to bring down the anxieties of everybody else.”

If you have a loved one in Puerto Rico, Red Cross has a website called “SafeandWell.Org” you can use to see if they have checked into one of those shelters.

If you would like to donate supplies, you can contact Oasis Church member Alexis Almodovar, who is teamed with Red Cross: 706-877-3945

If you would like to add your family member’s name to Marie’s list, her contact is: sharonmarie626@gmail.com

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