Alaskan helps Puerto Rico hurricane victims connect with family
An Alaskan on the ground in Puerto Rico says he is slowly seeing improvements when it comes to recovery efforts on the island after Hurricane Maria.
Alaska Red Cross CEO Tanguy Libbrecht said Friday that he's slowly seeing supplies now coming in, roads are starting to open up and people are beginning to connect with family members outside the island. Libbrecht says they mounted a satellite dish on a generator and have been driving that around in a truck. That device has allowed people to use their cell phones and computers to reach out to family and friends -- some of whom didn't even know if they were alive.
Libbrecht described what happened when they recently drove that satellite dish to one area.
"Three thousand people connected to the satellite via phones or internet devices and were able to go on, whether it was Facebook or whatever Instagram, whatever the mode of communication was, were able to let people know they were okay," Libbrecht said. "We literally had people crying in the streets with joy, just being so excited being able to communicate."
While Libbrecht is seeing some improvements as relief efforts continue, he says there are still long lines of people waiting two to three hours to buy gas. Some are waiting in line one to two hours to buy groceries, with half-hour waits to use ATMs at banks.