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'This Entire Island Is Flattened,' but Light and Hope Begin to Shine for Desperate Puerto Ricans

09-29-2017
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The U.S. island of Puerto Rico is in the middle of a dire humanitarian crisis, but rays of hope are emerging.

One week after devastating Category 4 Hurricane Maria ravaged the U.S. territory, desperate island residents are starting to get some much needed help.

Federal aid is now getting in and CBN'S Operation Blessing is providing the people of San Juan with light and hope.

The Trump administration was criticized for not acting quicker, but a little known law, the Jones Act, prohibited foreign flagged ships from moving relief between U.S. ports.

And now that President Trump has waived the law, food, water and other supplies are getting to Puerto Rico. But moving them to the worst-hit areas is proving extremely difficult.
 
Many neighborhoods are flooded and roads impassible, so transportation of relief supplies is very difficult.

And a week after Hurricane Maria decimated the island, people are still without electricity and water is in scarce supply. Residents are waiting in long lines for gasoline to power their generators and vehicles. Very few gas stations are open.

Operation Blessing's David Darg was on the ground in Puerto Rico earlier this week before the recent flow of government aid started arriving.

CBN News talked with Darg who said the island has been devastated.

"It's just one of the worst disasters I've ever seen in terms of the scale. You know, the Haiti earthquake was horrific, the death toll was huge but it was fairly localized in many respects where as here you have an entire island and this is a big island, look at it on a map. This entire island is flattened," he explained.

Operation Blessing is working with the only functioning bakery to provide bread for Puerto Ricans. This sign reads, "the first 700 families will receive free bread thanks to the help of Operation Blessing of Virginia."

And let there be light! 

Residents of one San Juan neighborhood lived in darkness at night for more than a week.

But no longer. OB gave given them solar powered lights.

San Juan Mayor Carmin Yulin Cruz helped distribute the lights and showed people how to operate them. She told one man that it provides light for eight hours.

"All of a sudden you get that spark in people's eyes, you have children smile," said Cruz. "The community starts getting noisy again and people start claiming back their streets. It's not a cube of light, it's a cube of hope."

It's a blessing in disguise Mayor Cruz insists. 

One child was excited because she could read again at night. 

And her neighbors – fellow Americans who received the solar-powered lights – expressed their gratitude. 

"Gracias Operation Blessing!"
 

LINKS:

Puerto Rico 'Destroyed' by Maria: Power Gone, Telecom 'Collapsed'

4,000 Churches Devastated in Puerto Rico and Mexico: How Your Church Can Help

Help Operation Blessing bring relief to desperate Puerto Ricans

 

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