No cell phone service. No gas. No power. Little to no water — this is Puerto Rico seven days after Hurricane Maria hit the U.S. territory. When the storm hit as a category 4 hurricane last week, it was one of the worst the area had seen in years.
The hurricane not only wiped out Puerto Rico’s power grid, but also made many roads impassable, making it difficult to reach rural or mountainous areas with aid. As debris is cleared, the focus is now on getting running water and electricity to hospitals.
While Puerto Rico continues its recovery mission, lawmakers back in Washington are urging President Donald Trump, Congress and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to authorize more aid to the region. Mr. Trump said he will visit the island Tuesday. Meanwhile, FEMA, the Red Cross, and other organizations have launched efforts to begin rebuilding.
The PBS NewsHour spoke with Rosemarie Valdez, public affairs officer for American Red Cross in Puerto Rico and a Puerto Rico resident, from the capital city of San Juan about the group’s efforts.
Despite the challenges, “what I saw throughout the community was resiliency. The day after the storm it wasn’t just the responders out, it was neighbors, it was people in the community … That’s what it’s all about. We are resilient, we have high spirits and we know that we will rebuild.”
Watch our conversation in the video player below.