After Inflicting Major Damage, Maria Moves Away From Puerto Rico David Greene talks to Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's resident commissioner — the island's representative in Congress, about the problems Hurricane Maria created.
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After Inflicting Major Damage, Maria Moves Away From Puerto Rico

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After Inflicting Major Damage, Maria Moves Away From Puerto Rico

After Inflicting Major Damage, Maria Moves Away From Puerto Rico

After Inflicting Major Damage, Maria Moves Away From Puerto Rico

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/552530520/552530521" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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David Greene talks to Jenniffer González-Colón, Puerto Rico's resident commissioner — the island's representative in Congress, about the problems Hurricane Maria created.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Hurricane Maria finally moved away from Puerto Rico last night but not before inflicting major damage on the island's infrastructure. The most severe impact was on Puerto Rico's power grid, and the entire island is still without electricity. That is a problem that Puerto Rico's governor said, last night, could take months to fix.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

We reached one resident, Gabriel Caballero-Rodriguez, in central Puerto Rico. He said his area hadn't yet recovered from Hurricane Irma two weeks ago.

GABRIEL CABALLERO-RODRIGUEZ: Some people got their power back on around yesterday or the day before. And now the whole island is without any power at all.

GREENE: Rodriguez considers himself, though, lucky because his house did not flood. At one point, all of Puerto Rico was under a flash flood warning. And many of the island's flimsier wooden houses were badly damaged.

KELLY: Yeah. Yesterday, Tanya Ferguata (ph) was assessing the damage at her apartment in San Juan. She had spent the worst parts of the storm at her mom's house. And when she hiked up to her apartment on the 12th floor, she saw that one of the doors to her balcony had been knocked loose.

TANYA FERGUATA: It didn't break, but all the water had come through it. There's a wall that's, like, paper. So that fell onto the master bedroom. So it's basically flooded, most of it.

GREENE: All right. I want to bring in another voice here. It is Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon. She is Puerto Rico's resident commissioner, which is the island's representative in Congress. Thanks for joining us this morning.

JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON: (Inaudible) Good morning.

GREENE: So where are you exactly? And have you been able to assess the damage?

JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON: Yeah. I'm in Carolina, which is near San Juan. There was a curfew that the governor established last night from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., just let the people from the rescue teams and research go out and make this job. Last night, it was a lot of raining. Even though the hurricane passed, we still got tropical storm winds of up to 75 miles per hour last night. So it was not safe to go outside.

GREENE: Are you in your home in your community, or where exactly are you?

JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON: Yes. I'm in a private home here in Carolina without power. The whole island is without power. And all the trees are down. There's a lot of debris. You can't even go through. There's a lot of power lines that are on the floor that it's not safe until the people from the electric power authority can do their jobs. A lot of the rivers overflowed their own banks. So it's - I mean, it's not safe. The weather service just said that we are going to continue to have heavy rains. Yesterday, we received more than - from 18 to 35 inches of rain.

GREENE: It just keeps coming. It's extraordinary. Can I just ask you - the mayor of San Juan, I saw an emotional interview with her. She said the Puerto Rico and the San Juan that we knew yesterday is no longer there. Is it that bad?

JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON: It is that bad. I mean, it is - there's devastation. People with wooden houses are no longer there. And all of the forest and, you know, palm trees - they're not there. I mean, it's bare soil. And it is devastating. And I hope we can recover soon and make how much damage impacted the airports, ports and the whole island.

GREENE: We'll be thinking of you. Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon is the resident commissioner of Puerto Rico. She represents the island in Congress.

Thank you for your time. I know it's a very busy moment for you.

JENNIFFER GONZALEZ-COLON: My pleasure. Thank you.

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