Rio Grande area of Puerto Rico works to rebuild after Hurricane Maria

Residents wait for help to repair homes


RIO GRANDE, Puerto Rico – Lucy Mellan lives in her Rio Grande home, about 20 miles outside of San Juan, with her daughter. 

For three months after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, she lived without water and power. 

Fans and the air conditioner are now running in her home, but damage from the storm remains visible. 

The electrical structure is now jury-rigged as she waits for help from the federal government. 

"The wires got damaged, the electrical wires of the house," Mellan said. 

Wires from the bedroom run into the bathroom, and on the second floor of her home a blue tarp serves to keep out the water when it rains.

She's been denied twice for help to fix her roof. 

"It's still coming. Less, I mean, because from the tarps and I have fallen twice, the steps because of the water. Before it was like rain inside," Mellan said. 

Reynard Rohena also calls the Rio Grande area home. His power wasn't restored until five months after the storm. 

"We saw that Maria was going to be harder so we came to Carolina, which is right here with my mom and stayed there because she lives alone," Rohena said. 

His mother's concrete home fared well compared to the others surrounding it. 

"That house, it was a second story, there was a wood house and literally the whole thing went away and the only thing that basically they had after the hurricane was the fridge that they put it up back again and the stove. The rest flew away," Rohena said. 

The family who lived in the house close to his mother's relocated stateside. 

As the island rebuilds, a new set of normal has set in, and still some people worry about where future help will come from.