Hawaii families agonize over suffering of relatives in Puerto Rico

( Image: Ariel Medina )
( Image: Ariel Medina )

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - As Luis Santos, his wife and children scour the internet for any news from Puerto Rico, they agonize over images that show the destruction caused by by Hurricane Maria.

"It's kind of difficult to focus on your job when you know that your family is struggling to survive," Santos said.

Ariel Medina and his wife are also from Puerto Rico. They feel powerless to help family back home.

"Can I help from here? It's difficult because we can't send nothing through postal yet. Money we can't send either. It's a very difficult situation right now," Medina said.

Power outages in Puerto Rico cut off communications on practically the entire island. Getting through is still very difficult.

The Santos family finally reached relatives after nearly a week of sending texts. The news they finally heard was heart wrenching.

"We already know that most people in the island, some of them already ran out of food and water. Some of them probably got enough for one or two more days," Santos said.

It's also difficult for those trying to flee Puerto Rico. The main airport is damaged, ticket prices have tripled since the storm, and flights are limited.
Medina and his wife wish emergency supplies would get to Puerto Rico faster.

"There's a lot more people that are giving and not all the support is getting to the people that need it," he said.

The Medina's relatives and the Santos relatives largely live in remote areas of Puerto Rico.

Santos is especially worried about his father.

"My father is a patient of dialysis. Without power his dialysis machine doesn't operate. It doesn't work," he said.

If you want to help those affected by Hurricane Maria, the Hawaii Red Cross is accepting monetary donations at its office at 4155 Diamond Head Road. Make checks payable to American Red Cross and indicate in the memo line that it's for Hurricane Maria. Donations of $10 can also be made by texting the word MARIA to 90999.

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