Living Through Hurricanes in Puerto Rico

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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.


  • trucker

    There is 6 months of supplies on the docks waiting for the teamsters to stop their strike. The ships have other places to be. A story based on one Hillary supporter without any effort to dig deeper. The Spanish speaking local media tell a different story, a very different story.

  • Tom D

    Allow Puerto Ricans to vote for president and Donald Trump will leave FEMA, military personnel and first responders there forever.

      • Taco Salad

        PR does not vote in the US general election.
        They do vote in the primary. But not on the actual election.
        I know 7th grade Civics was decades ago for you ‘Tuckians. But there… you learned something today.

  • Silverfish Imperetrix

    The F.B.I. is currently looking into multiple allegations that “local officials” are intentionally holding back the distribution of relief supplies to victims of the hurricanes, i.e. taking care of their friends and themselves first and hoarding the rest of them. Typical Democrats. (The Mayor of San Juan was especially hilarious complaining about poor Federal relief efforts in front of full pallets of water and food.)

  • Yeah i said that!

    What’s everybody talking about? I thought hurricane Maria was a cosmetic improvement for Puerto Rico. You know, like when a house burns down in Wilkesbarre. It just makes the neighborhood look better.

  • Taco Salad

    They’re all ocean Mexicans as far as Pennsyltucky is concerned. The Don seems to agree.
    That’s why we like the Don. He says it like our racist dad use to.

    • Givemeabreak

      You realize they are US citizens? Puerto Ricans are not Mexicans. It’s the skin color that’s got you all jumbled up. Yowser.

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