Puerto Ricans Abroad Just As Much In The Dark As Island

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MANTECA, Calif. (CBSMiami) — Puerto Ricans abroad have been left to nothing but hopes and prayers after the island was rendered without communication following Hurricane Maria.

A family in California, worried about their retired parents and hometown they grew up in, wear red to show their solidarity for loved ones they haven’t talked to in days.

“It’s heart-wrenching to watch the news images and know that our parents and loved ones are there,” said Necy. “They say there’s flooding, there’s mudslides.”

For Necy and her siblings, they’re doing their best to stay calm and grounded.

“We’re just like trying to stay on our feet,” said brother Norberto, tearing up as he spoke. “Sorry.”

They just want to know if mom and dad are okay.

“We have no news,” said Necy.

Originally from Jayuya, Puerto Rico, their parents, Norberto and Inez Rosario, spent 40 years raising their family in California. The couple planned to retire back on the island and started building their dream home in Jayuya two years ago.

Construction just finished up in August.

“They left on Sunday,” said Necy, who hasn’t heard from her mother since just before the storm hit.

“It was really windy and really rainy but they were okay and ready for the storm,” said the couple’s youngest daughter, Anelisse.

Their hometown is in the center of island, the same area where the eye of the storm passed over.

“There’s only a couple ways in or out and all those ways are blocked,” said Anelisse.

Now the family’s immediate challenge is trying to keep their kids calm.

“Grandma and grandpa will be okay,” Norberto is telling his kids. “They’re always asking for them.”

They patiently wait for news coming out of Puerto Rico, hoping the phone will ring with mom and dad on the other end.

“All we need is, even if it was a two-second call saying we’re okay, and we had no more connection, we’d be fine with that,” said Anelisse. “We have to stay together and be strong. And know that they are okay.”

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