Puerto Rico family feels forgotten, Portland woman says

Concern grows over damage in Puerto Rico

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A Portland woman was among those worried about family members enduring worsening conditions in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria struck the island.

Gabriela Rodriguez moved to Portland two years ago. Her father and two brothers live in Puerto Rico, much of which was still without clean running water and electricity on Wednesday.

“All the windows were blown out, the whole building is destroyed,” said Rodriguez, swiping through photos her father sent her. “My whole life is back there."

Rodriquez had been in touch with her father, Alfredo Rodriguez, who works security for the U.S. Coast Guard in Old San Juan. It’s one of the few places to have restored cell service in Puerto Rico.

“We communicate sporadically when he's at work,” said Rodriquez, who received a call from her father while talking with KGW.

“The people are getting violent,” said Alfredo Rodriguez via phone. “They're breaking the law because it's been about three weeks now, people with no water, no electric. People are getting desperate.”

Alfredo shared video he took of a line of cars waiting for gas. It stretched, in his estimation, a mile long.

“Still going, still going, long, long, long,” said Alfredo.

Other videos showed damaged buildings and uprooted trees. There were also the intangibles, hard to capture on a screen; the sweltering heat, no electricity or clean running water, and the fear that no one would care.

“As Puerto Ricans, we feel a little forgotten by society,” said Gabriela. “They don't know how to place us on a map…during a catastrophe like this. I think this was one of people's greatest fears, that people would forget us.”

Rodriguez and others organized a Hurricane Maria Puerto Rico donation drive. It was scheduled for September 23 and 24 at Broad Space located at 425 SE 3rd Ave, Unit 305, in Portland.

© 2017 KGW-TV


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