A LARGE NUMBER OF Puerto Ricans REMAIN In Shelters. Right now What?

A LARGE NUMBER OF Puerto Ricans Are Still In Shelters. Today What?

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For Yamyria Morales, her baby daughter and 2 year old son Jonael, home for now is a few cots in an elementary institution gymnasium in Vega Alta, an hour west of San Juan.

“I’ve lost track of when I arrived right here,” Morales says. “It’s been really hard.”

Morales, a 25-year-old single mom, came to the shelter with her youngsters and her daddy just times after Hurricane Maria destroyed her wooden home in Sabana Hoyos, about 20 miles away.

“Whatever little I had, I lost,” she says.

Now, nearly two months after Maria, Morales’s daddy is definitely hospitalized with a serious fungal disease, and she and her kids are among more than 2,000 people over the island still surviving in shelters.

As the Federal Emergency Management Firm and Puerto Rico’s government make an effort to transition from unexpected emergency response to long-term restoration, emptying shelters such as this one is important – especially since many of them are located in schools that require to re-open. The difficulty is, the people staying in the shelters don’t possess somewhere else to go.

Mike Byrne is in charge of the FEMA response found in Puerto Rico. He says the firm routinely provides non permanent housing in hotels after mainland disasters. But Puerto Rico poses particular challenges. Many hotels are still closed. Others are filled up with emergency responders and ability crews attempting to restore the island’s badly broken electric grid.

Thus, Byrne says, FEMA is considering something latest: chartering planes to fly people to New York or Florida, where hotel rooms are more abundant.

“It’s better than leaving them in the condition they’re in,” Byrne says. He argues that if people are still in shelters, it is because they don’t have another option.

“We wish them to have another choice,” he says.

But Byrne says many Puerto Ricans aren’t enthusiastic about leaving the island.

“They want to work on rebuilding their homes” says Byrne, “they want to focus on coming back to some good sense of normalcy, and yanking your loved ones a thousand or two thousand miles away is not going to help with that.”

Yamyria Morales is one of those who doesn’t want to keep. She says FEMA has wanted to fly her and the children to Florida or New York, where they would be put up for a couple of months in a hotel, but she’s not interested.

“Not at this time,” Morales says. “My father is sick, and I need to be here.”

She even now hopes FEMA will find her family a flat nearby.

Thirty-nine families are still living at the shelter on Vega Alta, including Morales and her youngsters. Luis Vasquez is with FEMA, and has been interviewing the families with an attention toward receiving them out from the institution gymnasium and into non permanent housing elsewhere.

But, Vasquez says, there aren’t a lot of apartments or houses on the island.

“Many of them were damaged. Many of them are still not being repaired or made habitable” says Vazquez, “and some have been taken.”

FEMA offers grants as high as $33,000 to greatly help homeowners repair their homes. But Vasquez says various people inherited their homes from a parent or relative and can’t verify the homes are theirs. The firm only accepts official government documentation such as for example deeds, titles, or real estate tax receipts, as proof ownership.

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54-year-old Roberto Fret’s house is just next door from the Vega Alta shelter. He came to the shelter along with his wife and two teenage kids on Tuesday September 19, the day before Maria hit.

They still haven’t been able to move back. The hurricane blew the zinc roofing off of Fret’s residence, scattering twisted pieces of it across his back yard. Some landed on his car, breaking house windows and crushing the roofing.

A FEMA team place a tarp and non permanent roof frame up, but Fret says the task wasn’t done properly. Climbing a ladder, he factors at pooling normal water and noticeable holes in the tarp. “Water still comes in whenever it rains,” he says.

Fret just heard about FEMA’s deliver to fly him and his family to New York or Florida. He has family in both locations, though he includes a work on the island owning a reserve warehouse for the Division of Education. But he likes the offer.

“It’s the most suitable choice,” he says. “I’ll consider it.”

It will not take him very long to fix his residence, he says – once he gets his check from FEMA. However in the meantime, he says he and his family have to get out from the shelter.

“We are influenced,” he says pointing to his mind, “our mental health will improve if we keep.

“All of us are afflicted emotionally and mentally because help hasn’t arrived yet. We’re just waiting.”

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