Communication still limited after Hurricane Maria

One woman in Moline still can't reach family members weeks later

Sadness has turned to frustration for Margaret Colón and she waits with unanswered questions.

"I've tried texting, calling, e-mailing, the Red Cross website and other independent websites...nothing," she said. 

The American Red Cross chapter in Moline has at least 10 volunteers currently in Puerto Rico, but expect many more to follow in the months to come. Trish Burnett is the communications director and says while supplies is critical, relief efforts start still repairing lines of communication. 

"We have a lot of volunteers and staff that are really tired, it has been stressful," said Burnett. "But you know what, the people that volunteer with the Red Cross care so deeply about what they do, that they make it happen."

As Colón continues with her own efforts, she feels the government's response is lacking.

"It seemed to be a slow reaction, and I'm not sure why because this is the biggest hurricane Puerto Rico has experienced in over one hundred years."

Seeing supplies at a stand still has Colón worried about her loved ones with medical conditions. 

"These are sick people with maybe ninety degrees, no air conditioning, no electricity, you can't even run a fan and it's really scary. I'm really worried and I'm really sad."

For the American Red Cross, some volunteers have started going door to door by foot, hoping to help those in total isolation reach their loved ones. 

"We're doing a thing called reunification trucks where we now have satellites there and we're driving through neighborhoods helping people get their cell phones charged, helping them use satellite phones, helping with laptops to get that communication to their family," Burnett said. 

Meanwhile, until that help arrives, Colón is waiting on the other end of the line.

"I'd like to know how they are, if I could do anything I would, in any way possible," Colón said.  

You can find out more on how to donate towards Red Cross disaster relief here

If you are unable to reach your loved ones, the American Red Cross is helping people contact through their reunification trucks here


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