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SAN JUAN (CBSMiami) – In the nearly six weeks since Hurricane Maria, one of the few shining lights of the Puerto Rico relief effort has been religious groups providing direct aid to citizens of the island.
Nuns from the local Catholic Church and their priest, working with doctors and volunteers from the Islamic Circle of North America, just returned after getting to help a lot of senior citizens.
CBS4 was there when the ICNA relief team headed out to Puerto Rico – luggage bulging with medical supplies.
Video provided to us by the group documents their trip and the plight of senior citizens on the island.
“Most of them did not have insulin so they had high blood pressure, sugar very high,” explained Abdulrauf Khan.
The group visited four small cities and San Juan where they set up their portable clinic inside a Walmart and provided medical checkups and needed medicines.
“The senior citizens, those that could not more around so much are stuck in that place and there is no one to take care of them,” said Khan.
The medical team noticed that while the seniors are stuck, younger people are leaving the island for the U.S. mainland.
CBS4’s Hank Tester visited Yabucoa three weeks ago. He found residents, many seniors, with no power, no water, hard to get food, scrambling to get by.
ICNA representatives had been there about the same time, just recently returning.
“I did not see any improvement on the streets and the situation of the people as it was two weeks ago,” Khan said.
Twenty-three percent of the Puerto Rican population is over the age of sixty. Most are on social security.
According to CBS4 news partners at the Miami Herald, AARP is sending food to 6,000 to 7,000 seniors in Puerto Rico.