BALTIMORE (WJZ) — It’s another hit to an island already in distress. Puerto Ricans are again fleeing their homes as a dam threatens to fail following Hurricane Maria.
70,000 people have been forced to evacuate ahead of a second rush of water. Meanwhile, the rest of the island is out of power and running out of resources.
Volunteers from the Maryland Red Cross are in Puerto Rico and working to provide stranded people with shelter.
The streets are filled with flood water while homes are running empty of drinking water. Resources are extremely low after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico.
The storm killed nine people and ripped apart the island’s already fragile infrastructure.
“Think of your worst nightmare. No power in Puerto Rico. No water. We have the reservoirs of drinking water have been depleted. Diesel is very quickly running out,” says San Juan Mayor Yulín Cruz.
Now, the west Puerto Rico city of Guajataca is bracing for a second wave of disaster. 70,000 people are fleeing their homes, as the National Weather Service warns that a dam might fail.
FEMA has created an air bridge to bring in badly needed supplies and American aid.
Help is coming from 1,500 miles away as volunteers from Baltimore set foot on the battered island Saturday.
“It’s challenging. It’s really challenging,” says Red Cross volunteer Rich Scanlan
He spoke with WJZ before boarding a plane to his 35th volunteer mission. He’s newly returned from volunteering with Hurricane Irma efforts and Hurricane Harvey before that.
“You’ve got to think on your feet. You’ve always got to be in motion. You can’t stand still,” he says.
Volunteers moving fast and moving often to help those who’ve lost everything in the series of Category 4 hurricanes that have slammed through the Caribbean and into Texas and Florida.
“One minute you’ve got everything you’ve got, and the next minute you don’t even have an ID,” he says.
This time, he doesn’t know where he’ll sleep — if he’ll sleep. Coming fully stocked with food and water and hope that a violent storm season will soon calm.
“I think I’m going to rest awhile after this one. I think I’m going to rest,” says Scanlan.
He is the first local volunteer to get to the island, but, the Red Cross is sending eight people from the area.
5,200 Red Cross disaster workers and nearly all of the agency’s emergency vehicles are on the ground right now helping survivors of the hurricanes.