Soldiers bring supplies to desperate Puerto Ricans

Latest news

    Sixteen days after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Maria de Lourdes Sandoval heard helicopters over her village of Bajura. She ran to signal them, forcefully waving her arms and crying for help as they touched down on a nearby soccer field. “I’m helpless. I don’t have a home, don’t have anywhere to live. I don’t have furniture, no bed, no clothes,” Sandoval, 47, said.

    Hundreds of villages, isolated by power outages, impassable roads and downed telephone lines, are being helped by helicopter teams from the U.S. Army’s First Armored Division’s Combat Aviation Brigade and the 101st Airborne Division’s “Dustoff” unit.

    Daily missions are flown out of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, which was closed in 2004 but is now being used by the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy.

    “It hurts because I remember how it used to be, and now it’s completely different,” said Sgt. First Class Eladio Tirado, who was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. After not visiting for roughly five years, he returned home in a Blackhawk helicopter. “Everything is so much gone. The vegetation, everything is brown, everything is dead.”

    On a recent mission over Luqillo, Tirado asked the pilots to fly over his family’s home because he had been unable to reach them by phone. The helicopter circled the house. No one was there, but Tirado was confident the message would reach his family: he’s here and he’s helping.

    Media reports led crews to the village of San Lorenzo, which had received no federal assistance since the hurricane. Dozens of people pressed against a fence to watch helicopters land, anxiously awaiting food and water. Crews are also transporting people to emergency centers and mapping open roads so trucks can make deliveries.

    Rooftop messages like one near Humacao come through loud and clear. “HELP USA PLEASE P.R.” Near Ciales, as Blackhawks from the 1st Armored Division flew over, people on a rooftop reached toward the sky to signal they needed water. As helicopters scouted the island’s mountainous interior one recent Saturday a woman held a jug in the air.

    They circled above houses built on top of mountains to find a level field to unload their precious cargo. One field looked open and a Blackhawk came within 8 feet of the ground, but it could not land. Loaded with 100 cases of water, the helicopter flew off, leaving behind thirst and desperation. The crew soon found another needy community, Verde de Comerío, where it was able to land.

    Villagers quickly lined up to help soldiers pass food and water to a crowd. One woman hugged Pilot Chris Greenway to thank him for water. In less than 10 minutes, hundreds of bottles of water were given to families, emptying the helicopter.

    This village also needed medicine and families with babies had no way of getting basics. Diapers and formula have become luxury goods. But every village asks for water. The lack of potable water is slowly choking these villages and helicopters can only carry so much. Every trip leaves some who get nothing.

    The crews can only hope they can return soon enough to make a difference. “This island will never stop,” Tirado said. “People will rebuild, we will continue forward, and they’re going to see a better tomorrow.”

    View the original article:

    Original story is here :

    In the same category are

    Baltimore police officer charged for disturbing beating caught on video Baltimore police officer Arthur Williams, seen on video repeatedly punching a civilian, has been charged with first and second-degree assault, as well...
    ‘On it!’: Kushner brought up in Manafort trial over reply to email Jared Kushner — and a two-word email he authored in response to Paul Manafort on help getting a banker a job in the new administration — are now part ...
    FBI: Sheriff was bribed to shelter drug dealer for 15 years Federal authorities say a Mississippi sheriff gave protection for years to a drug dealer who robbed other dealers and kicked back stolen money and dru...
    Report: Pennsylvania priests molested over 1,000 children Hundreds of Roman Catholic priests in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — since the 1940s, and senior church off...
    State of emergency declared in Florida amid toxic red tide outbreak on Gulf coast The Governor of Florida issued a state of emergency in response to this year’s excessive red tide, the toxic algae bloom spreading across the West Coa...
    Girls escape kidnap attempt by fighting, throwing hot coffee on suspect Police in Michigan say four girls managed to fight off a man who assaulted them over the weekend by throwing hot coffee on him.The girls, ages 11 to 1...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.