Puerto Rican town of Tao Baja hit hard by Hurricane Maria

World Today

Puerto Rican town of Tao Baja hit hard by Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria may be the single most damaging storm to ever hit the island of Puerto Rico. It knocked out the territory’s electrical grid. More than three million people are without power or cellular communications.
Now flash floods and mudslides are destroying more communities.

CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez visited one of the island’s worst hit communities, Toa Baja.

Hurricane Maria made its way through the municipality of Toa Baja, one of the most devastated towns in Puerto Rico.

Wind gusts over 200 kilometers an hour destroyed thousands of homes. Rising floodwaters did the rest.

Flood victim Ricardo Martinez says, “We spent nine hours calling 911 five or six times and they never responded. Not a police officer, not a fire truck, not the mayor of this town.”

Around 4,000 residents of Toa Baja were rescued. Eight residents drowned in the flooding.

Flood victim Angel Luis Rivera says, “It just started raining and we didn’t think it was going to come that high because the last time that it came it came up but this high right here in the ground. It didn’t come inside the house. But this time it was just too quick. Within 15 to 20 minutes. The water just gushed down from this way.”

It was fast and furious. Their properties are still standing. But everything inside is gone.

But everyone is alright. But no one has been by to check on them.

“Like I was saying nobody has tried to come here and asked me if we are all right. You are the First Lady to come in here and ask us if we are ok,” said Martinez.

Rosendo Concepcion wanted CGTN to see the damage to his house. He insisted. They all seemed to need someone to just listen to them.

“I know there are other places I can move to, but I have no means to do that. I have to stay fighting here,” said Concepcion.

This nightmare could repeat itself around 90 km away. The Guajataca Dam has suffered damaged. The governor warned it could breach at any time.

Authorities urged the 70,000 people in nearby towns to evacuate.