The Caribbean Hurricane Page
Updates from the Islands
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Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 11:55:56 -0400 From: Sonia_Castro@condenast.com Subject: Ponce, PR I finally got through to my cousin in Ponce...she lives in the Urb. Punto Oro...near Punto Diamante. She said they have no lights and little water..she wasn't too informative... If anyone has info on Clausells in Ponce. Please let me know..my sister has no phone. Thanks. Sonia (sonia castro/street&smiths/cnp@cnp) or (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From: Carmen-Guerrero (Cguerrero@OfficeDepot.com) Forwarded by: "Quinones, Roberto K." (email@example.com) Sent: Friday, September 25, 1998 4:12 PM I've spoken to my family in Ponce (San Felipe #1 Esquina Diamantes). Currently, the area has no electricity or water. Many homes have lost their roofs and one home was completely destroyed. They have not heard of any neighbors being injured. Calle Villa: a tree has fallen into a house. . Villa Delicias: As of yesterday, they have running water.
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 10:00:35 -0400 From: Miriam Benitez (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Vieques Thank you to those couple of people with updates. I have not heard anything personally about Vieques, but I have my elderly parents and aunt together there somewhere. My aunt Olga Benitez owns the Posada Vistamar in Esperanza. If anyone has any information, please let me know. My only personal report was through the army and they said that Esperanza had been hit hard and that there was a lot of standing water. And a follow-up by Miriam re: the 'army' report. -Gert I spoke to my cousin on Wednesday night. He was in contact with an officer who said the island looked terrible. Of course he wasn't around for Hugo as a basis for comparison, so I can't really tell.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 21:41:10 -0400 From: Jorge L. Belendez (email@example.com) Subject: LEADERS MUST INSPIRE, ABOVE ALL, A SENSE OF DIGNITY. Dear Family and Friends: Its Thursday 24 SEP 98. The nation is again waking up another day of sorrowful reality. And waking up again to the lack of water, lack of electrical energy and the details of the devastation, The big news for the government officials is the arrival of FEMA personnel today. They bring the good news about the help that FEMA gives to all the communities that have gone thorough the disaster that Puerto Rico has lived in these past few days. However, like everything in this world, the reconstruction of every community depends on the effort, determination, faith, stamina, and the will to work, hard and proud work, of the people. And Puerto Rico is no exception. Naturally, all help is welcomed. We have, after all, a right to that help. But the help, is just that, a short time push so that WE can jump-start the national effort to reconstruct the nation. As I said, all help is welcomed, even more so when its given with the open heart that the Unites States of America is world wide known for. I, nevertheless would be irresponsible if I did not mention that we must never fall into the trap of looking to the United States for the solution to all our problems. That is not fair to the United States, and is, in the final end, detrimental, harmful and counterproductive to Puerto Rico. It saddens me somewhat that the emphasis has been on the arrival of FEMA, rather than the gigantic effort by the people of Puerto Rico, the government workers, the civic groups, the churches, the municipal governments, the local agencies, industry, commerce and many others entities have made in these past few days. I can perfectly understand, although will never share, the ideal of Statehood for Puerto Rico. I respect that ideal as I respect all ideals that are based on democratic principles. But we must be aware that Statehood means a sharing of duties and responsibilities, not a one way street where we as a people look to the Federal Government as the solution of all the problems of Puerto Rico. Doing so would be a disservice to the United States and would make Puerto Rico a nation of beggars and mendicants. The sad risk of this type of thinking is that it stifles the will of a people to look for its own solutions to its very own problems. The United States is a very rich nation. Puerto Rico is a poor nation. But we must look at ourselves, in Puerto Rico, has having the capabilities, the will, the steel spirit to overcome this type of disaster in a creative and mature manner, without the need to think that we are helpless without handouts and welfare. To do otherwise, will foreordain us to a sad, tragic and pitiable state of dependence, subservience and servility for the rest of our collective life as a people. Being part of the United States should not be based on a sorry state of permanent and indignant dependence. It should be the other way around. The damage caused be the hurricane saddened me greatly. But today I was even more sad when I heard a Mayor of a town that will remain unnamed give a sad reply to the question of what the town municipal government was doing. The only reply the Mayor had was to say that they were helping the people with the inventories of the losses so that they could claim FEMA for the losses. I felt a mixture of shame, sadness and anger. What a great opportunity that Mayor had to thank the Civil Defense, the municipal workers, the school teachers, the police, the doctors and nurses, the firemen, the electrical workers for a great job of helping out. Yet all he could think of was a handout. As I said, I felt a mixture of shame, sadness and anger. The leaders, from the Governor down have a responsibility to encourage self help, not dependence. Today the FEMA personnel flew to Puerto Rico. And the political show that was made was indignant. FEMA has been in Puerto Rico before. And they have been welcomed. But NEVER had they been received as the only alternative to a natural disaster. Leader must have, above all, some sense of dignity. And keep the long term future in mind. This, after all, even with the sadness and destruction, is just a passing event in the life of a nation. -- Here follows some specific observations on the different critical areas... TELEPHONE INFRASTRUCTURE: -------------------------- The telephone infrastructure has received extensive damage. Some towns are still totally incommunicated. The "official" estimate of telephones that are down is 200,000 lines. But somehow that seems an absurdly low figure in view of the fact that whole towns are without telephone service. The Puerto Rico Telephone Company cellular network seems to be down. The Cellular One network which is in working order. ELECTRICAL INFRASTRUCTURE: --------------------------- The whole Island is without electrical energy. WATER SERVICES INFRASTRUCTURE: -------------------------------- The whole Island is without water. TRANSPORTATION INFRASTRUCTURE: -------------------------------- Many towns, and even more neighborhoods are not accessible. This represents a very concrete problem. Some roads leading to towns located in the center of the Island have suffered mud slides. And that is something that is not easily solved. First the roads have to be cleared and only then the heavy equipment needed to repair can do its work. As you can imagine, even the heavy equipment available in normal times can not cope with all these road problems. ON A MORE POSITIVE NOTE: ------------------------ There are many, many examples of a nation working together to help each other. One good example is one local air ambulance helicopter company that are providing free transportation. But the most significant part is that to the towns that are without communication they are making "blind" flights to those towns in case there is any patient whose life is depending on air evacuation. Yet another case a local lawyer had a incredible initiative to organize ALL the university students that want to help out and they drive out to elderly persons who have problems. Any problem. From providing water to clearing the house, preparing food to eat, to cleaning the water inside the house, providing basic care, getting medication from the local pharmacy or just giving them a friendly ear to hear them out. Can you imagine how BEAUTIFUL that initiative is?? And they not only help that way, they also, for example, take inventory of the electrical poles that are damaged so that the electrical crews can go directly to the problems instead of having waste time doing that preliminary work. So far hundreds and hundreds of university students have joined this initiative. !!! INCREDIBLE AND GREAT !!! Like I said before, at the community level we are seeing Puerto Rico at its best^ everybody helping everybody. God bless us all. Jorge L. Belendez firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 10:08:14 +0300 From: Barents STS office (email@example.com) Subject: Hills South of Las Piedras I got word of the situation in the hills in the Valenciano Arriba district, in the hills between Las Piedras and San Lorenzo. Our house - we are on a hilltop looking North-East toward Humacao. The frame 2nd floor took about 30% damage and we lost 20% of the solar electric panels. Our goat herd came through it OK. Other frame homes in the area have been heavily damaged and destroyed. I did not hear of any deaths or injuries, but information is still scarce. Roads are open. There is no electricity, phone or cellular phone service in the area. In fact there has been no phone service in our sector since August 24. I hope to get more information Saturday. As I'm working in Moldova (Eastern Europe) this is very round-about. Conrad Clark
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 23:45:07 -0400 From: Joanne Konst (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Hatillo update I spoke to my mother earlier, and she says they still have no water nor electricity. She does not have a battery-operated radio, so she has missed the news from the rest of the island. The Catholic church lost its cross, and has yet to be found. The parrochial school lost its new wing; apparently a mudslide undermined the structure and it all fell down the hill. Rio Camuy is receding. Mom says most of the damage is to trees and gardens. Her neighbor has a wood play house in her backyard, and it was untouched by the storm. Mom has an aluminum awning held down with tension wire, and it survived the storm, too. Some wooden houses were damaged, and some roofs were blown away, but all in all, it could have been worse. She says she heard other towns have suffered a great amount--Utuado, for example. She also said it was a scary experience. Thank God the people are fine...
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 23:12:11 EDT From: Mdtwngrl@aol.com Subject: Some info on Utuado Finally!!! After four very long days, I received word from my family in Utuado. First and foremost, they had not heard of any deaths in Utuado. Considering that news travels fast in this town (and my family knows most of it!), I would consider this reliable information and VERY good news. However, the agricultural devastation is enormous. My family lives deep in the mountains and they have confirmed that the plaintain and coffee crop there has been totally destroyed. On the other hand, our house, a concrete structure with wooden doors and shutters, is still intact. The rage of the winds seems random. Some houses had their zinc roofs blown away, and others did not. We know of several wooden houses with zinc roofs that sustained little damage, while others were not that lucky. This is particularly the case in Caguanas. The roads are virtually impassable. My cousins were coming from Arecibo and were able to get to Utuado through Angeles. The new road, No. 10, was damaged in certain parts, particularly the section in Salto Abajo, due to a land slide. In other sections, cars are passing one by one, with the help of traffic guides who are using walky-talkies. Road 129 is impassable. There is no entrance to the main town, but those with jeeps or pick up trucks are using the back roads to get to relatives. There is one road that passes through Salto Arriba to Caguanas that is clear and people with jeeps are bringing food to their relatives by going through this road. That's all I have for now. My cousins in Arecibo will be returning to Utuado tomorrow to bring some provisions to other relatives in the Caguana and Salto Arriba area. I'll have more info when they return from their trip. (Also, the Jardines de Bubao residential area is ok!) I hope this note gives some of you hope. I know how difficult it is to sit and wait until you're contacted. My prayers are with all of you.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 17:29:25 -0700 From: Zulema Arroyo (email@example.com) Subject: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico Talked to my family in Sultana and Tenerife street was flooded. Said downtown Mayaguez( calle post and senter of town) suffered damage. She stood in line for 3 hours at the boqueron ice plant and was unable to get ice. Power resumed a few hours ago, but still withoout water. Mayaguez is one of the towns severly affected. My mom indicated it was the worst experience in her life. Our neighbors satelite dish fell in our front yard. Trees knocked in the backyard and water got into the house with the windows closed. Valle Hermoso is flooded. Grocery stores opened , but you have to stand in line and takle a number in order to go in and shop a few things. They are fine, just very shocked still. If anyone has more details on Mayaguez please let me know.
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 19:22:13 EDT From: Novalee32@aol.com Subject: PR posting. We have are lloking for more info on Utuado and Florida. Second hand reports (fromArecibo) said in-laws farm in Limon sustained major damage. No kitchen or bathroom left, they lost garage and 1 bedroom also. Further down mountain another relative lost 2 bedrooms from back of the house. As of last night, all roads in and out of Utuado/Limon/Ciales were impassable. Arecibo got a lot of flooding but phone lines are up. Also spoke with Canovanas. Less damage there, phones up and no problem getting through. However, 'Florida' windows were blown out of houses and several tornados touched down though I'm not quite sure exact locations. There is an address FMaldo1976@AOL.com, who lives in Utuado. We have received one message since storm from him. Try your luck. God bless. A million thanks to firstname.lastname@example.org
Date: 24 Sep 1998 15:30:20 MDT From: Noemi Kelley (Noemi@OnLineCol.Com) Subject: News from Barrio Cotui, near San German Spoke with my grandfather yesterday after finally trying for 1 1/2 days. Storm did a lot of damage trees uprooted from ground, their store demolished, house has lost all roofs, everything damaged. Thank God they are safe, had gone to rooms under house. No electricity or water and they have no help since they live alone and are 88 & 89 and my grandmother is in wheelchair. Roads very bad. Homes demolished all over. I am just glad they are safe. If anyone has any other news from there please advise! My prayers go to everyone who has been affected. Noemi del Carmen Kelley
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 16:49:41 -0400 From: Josephine Robles (email@example.com) Subject: Ponce, Puerto Rico UPDATE: I just called the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration office in Philadelphia (215-851-9930) and a very nice lady told me that there are 29 refugee centers, lots of fallen trees and downed wires, no telephone service, some highway service, but most importantly: NO DEATHS HAVE BEEN REPORTED IN PONCE!!! That in and of itself is a blessing. She also said to keep trying the phone lines and that hopefully, the phones could be restored by the weekend. Hope this helps, and keep in touch. Josephine
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 14:32:31 -0500 From: William Thompson (THOMPSOW@gunet.georgetown.edu) Subject: Rincon I received an e-mail from Paul at the Lemontree Cottages in Rincon. He said that the hurricane was very bad on the Western side of the island. The Lemontree had damage, but is still standing as is his house. Damage to the roads, power line, phone lines, etc. are much worse. Remember folks, things can be replaced - people can't. Hang in there Puerto Rico. P.S. Your web site has been quite a helpful tool - thank you
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 14:53:31 -0400 From: Josephine Robles (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: La Romana Spoke with my cousin in San Juan who was able to reach her sister in La Romana through her cell phone. Almost all phone lines are down, although apparently you can get through on cell phones. Hallelujah and thank the Lord for modern technology. So, on a personal note, I thank God that the Flaquer Saladin, Flaquer Sanchez, Flaquer Santana and Robles Flaquer family is OK with the only major damage being that the Flaquer Saladin house has no roof. As soon as I get more details, I will post. Also, check the following website which has provided a lot of great details: www.dr1.com
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 14:13:30 -0400 From: Giselle (email@example.com) Subject: Puerto Rico News Site FYI. El Nuevo Dma, Puerto Rico's Daily Spanish Newspaper has a site with current news. It's: http://126.96.36.199/ Giselle Aguiar
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 13:05:11 -0500 From: Bill (firstname.lastname@example.org) Sent: Wednesday, September 23, 1998 8:13 PM Forwarded by: Vicky Boice (email@example.com) Hi, Vicky, I was on the Carribean Georges Web site and I saw your plea for information on Vieques. We have a home and many dear friends on Vieques and we have been going crazy for days trying to get information. I don't have alot, but here it is: (I assume you know the island) The Tamarindo Bed and Breakfast is ok, minor damage. The north side had less damage, our house is right in town Isabel Segunda and it is fine (Whew). We have friends whose house is on the far north east side,near the navy fence, on a mountain top and they are ok! The highest homes on Puerto Real-the windows are gone. Of course, these are all concrete homes. In addition, the leaves are all gone. However, it was reported that when going by Sun Bay, the palms looked good. Anyway, if you have more information, I would appreciate receiving it and I'll keep you posted. As far as I know, no water, electricity or phones-but some cell phones. I hope you find the information you are looking for. Take Care!
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 13:04:25 -0500 From: Rabins (firstname.lastname@example.org) Forwarded by: Vicki Boice (email@example.com) Sent: Thursday, September 24, 1998 5:54 AM Subject: Georges Dear Vicki, Received word last night from sister-in-law who took ferry from Vieques to mainland. Initial indications that it wasn't nearly as bad as Hugo. There is phone service only among Viequensians at this time. Probably be a while before services are restored on Vieques because of extensive damage on mainland. Hope all is well with your family. Mark Rabin
Date: Wed, 23 Sep 1998 22:35:12 -0700 From: The Dempseys (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: News from Rincon Heard from my mom that Rincon has no power and water......area is devastated with down trees and shrubs.....thank God my family is OK...please let us know what else is going on in Rincon.......the phone lines are down at this time...........
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 12:29:12 -0400 From: Mario E Yuri (MYuri@compuserve.com) Subject: Communications from Puerto Rico I heard from my brother-in-law in Gurabo and my sister-in-law in Guaynabo that damage is extensive especially and most sadly to the vegetation. We are trying to obtain news from Utuado which is isolated due to downed trees and landslides. My father and mother-in-law live there and we have unfortunately not heard from them. If anyone has any news from Utuado please try and post it on this site. Our thanks and may God bless and help everyone in need. Mario & Olga Yuri
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 98 12:27:49 -0500 From: Gaynor Cote (email@example.com) Subject: Maricao, Puerto Rico Heard of friends in the Montoso area of Maricao, up the mountains from Mayaguez, last night through their relative who had spoken to them yesterday 23 Sept, PM. Some telephones working, no power, lots of trees down and landslides, roads impassable. Their concrete houses and wooden cabins have suffered little damage, but gardens have vanished. They said the storm lasted about 9 hours from midnight until 9 AM, but the damage did not seem to be as bad as they expected. Best of luck to all who have been affected. Gaynor Coté
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 10:51:15 -0500 From: "Anderson, Tracy (NM UW)" (Tracy.Anderson@nmb.norwest.com) Subject: Culebra Greetings I heard from my parents via HAM radio this am. They are fine. She did not mention any loss of life. However, all that is let of our house is the refrigerator and the bathroom. They are staying at the Kokomo hotel and have power and water there. She thought that they would be able to call via cellular phone on Saturday. Our house was close to the top of hill in the Clark Subdivision. The Kokomo is located at the new ferry dock. Not all the wood houses were destroyed--one that my dad built after Marilyn is still standing. I have a feeling that the island is pretty much in shock. They are aware of the damage on the main island. Culebra our payers are with you. Tracy
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 11:06:27 -0400 (EDT) From: Martin Weiss (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Update from Boqueron I spoke to my mother this morning in Boqueron. She has no water and no electricity. She was able to secure gasoline yesterday for her generator, and was going to venture to Cabo Rojo today to visit FEMA and to see if grocery stores were open. There are water trucks driving around (which was a relief to me). Most major roads have apparently been opened again. She is getting no news from the outside. She said that the eye of the storm passed directly overhead. Damage appears extensive, especially to wooden structures in the area (as elsewhere). She noticed that several boats in the Bahia de Boqueron were lost, although many survived the storm. Martin Weiss Telecommunications Program University of Pittsburgh
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 08:02:11 -0700 (PDT) From: cybervector (email@example.com) Subject: Utuado - Arecibo, Puerto Rico Hello to everyone on the island, IMPORTANT! www.prfaa-govpr.org has a listing of damages per town. This is the washington office for gov. PR. I spoke to my Aunt who lives in Arecibo. She lives in the Rodriguez Olmo area. This area was flooded up to 4 feet of water from the Rio Grande of Arecibo. This gels with previous reports about a Pueblo shopping center being under water. The Dos Bocas lake dam waters were released and hence feeds the river. My aunt and uncle had to be evacuated and have now returned but their homes are ruined. I would like to know about Utuado, if any one has information please post it or send. Well, God Bless everyone and my sincere gratitude to Mr.Gert Van Dijken for his honorable service to keep us informed. Hector(firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 16:49:03 +0200 From: "Quinones, Roberto K." (email@example.com) Subject: Information on PR I have not received any new information on Ponce other then what I posted yesterday, what I do have is a web site with information on small towns and which area needs what. Ain't much but I hope this helps all our brothers and sisters out there. http://www.prfaa-gov.org If this does not work, do a yahoo search on "prfaa" and it will pop right up. God bless Thank you, ROBERTO
Date: Thu, 24 Sep 1998 16:59:52 -0700 From: Nancy Cruz (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject: Parcelas Roberto Clemente, Pajuil, Hatillo, P.R. Hello everyone, my prayers are with you all. Most of my family is in Puerto Rico. Mostly all are in Hatillo. I did speak with my mom yesterday and it seems that the storm has done some significant damage to several homes in the area but thankfully no one was taken from us as far as my mother knows. She tells me that power is out so there is no electricity or water but her phone is back in service as well as that of many of her neighbors. I still can't get in touch with my grandmother and younger brother who both live near La Plaza, close to el Paseo Del Carmen beach so I am concerned. My mom hasn't been out to the Plaza so if anyone has any information on that area please post it. It would really ease my mind. I wish everyone the best !! Nena Albany, NY
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