Iowans try to contact family in Puerto Rico - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowans try to contact family in Puerto Rico

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -

Nearly a week after Hurricane Maria left the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico in shambles, Puerto Ricans in Iowa are trying to come to terms with the devastation.

Yahaira Lugo, 27, moved from the island 10 years ago to study at the University of Dubuque. She now works in admissions. 

"It hurts a lot, being so far away and not being able to go back home and help out."

The United States Commonwealth, that many know to be a popular travel destination, has immense destruction throughout the whole island. Officials are calling it a humanitarian crisis. Millions are without power, and clean water.

It's been difficult for people in the U.S. to contact family members there.

"It was about five days that I went with no communication with anybody whatsoever...Just the fact of not hearing from them was lingering in my mind, oh maybe something did happen," Lugo said.

Her mother is on the southern coast in the city of Ponce. Thankfully, she's okay, only experiencing some flooding. "She was saying that it was horrible, it's been the worst storm that we've had in nearly 90 years, so the island itself wasn't too prepared."

Lugo and her sister, who is currently a student at Clarke University in Dubuque, have been supporting one another during this time. She said it's been heartwarming to see Puerto Ricans all over the U.S. unite to help their homeland.

"No matter the circumstances, no matter what's going on on the island, politics, all things aside, we're all one, we're all Puerto Ricans, we're all Boricuas."

Help is on the way for the territory. Countless high-profile Puerto Ricans stepped up, bringing much needed attention to the dire situation.

President Trump also announced he will be visiting Puerto Rico next Tuesday, and authorized an increase in federal funding for disaster relief. 

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