Seniors seek safety as Puerto Rican dam in danger of collapse

World Today

It’s wait-and-see in Puerto Rico as the threat of a dam collapse continues. Officials told thousands to evacuate after Hurricane Maria damaged the structure. Many, including senior citizens, had to leave on just a moment’s notice.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.

The toe of the dam and the road adjacent to have already collapsed, but there’s uncertainty whether the entire structure will come down.

As a precaution, officials asked residents close to Guajataca Lake to evacuate. Many did, and some, mostly seniors, relocated to a shelter about an hour away.

One couple has been through thick and thin for 40 years and counting, supporting each other along the way. This time around, William, the husband, said he didn’t want to take any chances.

“I have my wife and she is handicapped,” William Matos Hernandez said. “She has many conditions. I cannot risk getting trapped in the waters. What happens if she gets sick?”

The couple said many of their neighbors did not believe the threat, however. This is why in some areas the authorities had to be more forceful.

“The federal government came in and started getting people out,” Angel Cuevas told us. “They were saying that everyone in my neighborhood had to go.”

More could soon be facing a similar situation elsewhere in Puerto Rico. In the south-central town of Villalba, a different dam is in danger of spilling over as well.