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Living Through Hurricanes in Puerto Rico

EAST STROUDSBURG -- For Marisa Pagan-Figueroa, saying the past month and a half has been hectic would be an understatement.

We spoke to the recent East Stroudsburg University graduate at the East Monroe Public Library about her recent visit and extended stay in Puerto Rico.

"It doesn't seem real," said Pagan-Figueroa. "One day you have a home and the next day you don't and that is what our families are going through."

A trip with her mother and grandmother to Puerto Rico quickly turned into chaos as, first, Hurricane Irma, and then Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico.

Marisa's grandmother Ana Reillo first had to be taken to the hospital after Irma when doctors discovered water in her lungs.

Reillo was able to leave days after but had to be taken back to the hospital when Hurricane Maria hit.

"We couldn't be with her because we weren't sure what it was going to be like and we knew the day after the hurricane we were not going to see her because there was no way to get to the hospital."

As the hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, Marisa and her mother had to stay in a stairwell at their hotel for safety, waiting days before they could check on her grandmother at the hospital.

"It took us two days to finally be able to drive there because the first day, there was no way, and even on the second day, there was flooding on the highway."

They eventually had to be flown off the island because of her grandmother's condition couldn't be treated in Puerto Rico.

"We didn't have a choice. Her doctor told us if we didn't get her out with the way the hospitals were and the way the whole society was, if we didn't get her out, we were going to take her out in a box."

Being stuck there for days, Marisa says she knows firsthand how poor conditions remain in Puerto Rico.

She can't believe President Trump would even consider pulling aid like he suggested on Twitter.

"At the end of the day, there are 3.4 million Americans on that island and whether he is in support of saving their lives or not saving their lives, he is responsible for their lives," she said.

Even though Figueroa got just back, she plans to fly down to Puerto Rico soon to help others get their lives on track.

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