Residents in Mayaguez communities still without power

Residents want local leaders to visit, help

By Vanessa Araiza - Reporter

MAYAGUEZ, Puerto Rico - It has been close to three months since Hurricane Maria changed the landscape of Puerto Rico.

Electricity has been restored to 95 percent of the island, according to status.pr, but people like Jose Lopez tell News 6 that number is wrong. He lives in a community in Mayaguez called Barrio Quemado.

Dirt from the hill across the street from Lopez's home flooded the street and pinned a car against his home. It trapped him and his wife in their house for two days after Maria hit, and took 20 days to dig the car out of the mud and dirt.

"With a shovel. No one helped me," Lopez said.

And that help, he tells News 6, remains bleak. The roads have been cleared to a narrow lane at best.

Because of the tight corners, loose power lines and piles of remaining debris, the road continues to be dangerous to drive.

"The man in charge of Mayaguez, he is not doing his job. He just going to radio and this and that, but that's not the point. We need him to work with the people who really need it," Lopez said. "My neighbor has the same problems I have, you know?"

His neighbors at the top of the mountain, he tells News 6, are far worse. They are still living in in a home that has walls missing because they have no where else to go.

He described the night of the storm like it was hours ago. He said while the storm was hitting, at times, he thought he may not make it through the night.

Two weeks ago, he built a retaining concrete wall about 3 feet tall in front of his home.

His hope is that it will deter another car from crashing into his home. But as long as debris remains a constant around his community his fear remains.

Another strong storm or rainfall, and he says the next landslide could take his home or even his life.

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