Trapped in the mountains, Puerto Ricans don’t see help, or a way out

The Washington Post reports: The day Hurricane Maria swiped through these mountains, the loose, wet dirt started to tumble and roll. It broke through the gate and through the door. It moved with ferocity and determination. It covered and filled everything.

“It looked like chocolate,” said Ferdinand Ramos, a 63-year-old retired police officer whose home was directly in the path of massive landslides. The viscous mud crashed into his living room and kitchen, leaving a shin-high sludge.

Then, for almost nine days, Ramos and Norma Jimenez and members of their extended family were trapped on their property. No one came to help. Their home on the remote outskirts of this town 60 miles southwest of San Juan became a prison.

Even after they cleaned up inside, they had no way to leave — the mud, broken trees and chunks of debris had piled up outside. On Thursday — eight days after Maria had passed — a municipal utility worker cleared their street.

The family had almost run out of drinking water. Their isolated community of Caonillas had received no aid from the local or federal government, residents said. And they had no way to make the perilous trek to town; the winding roads had been obliterated and six of the family’s cars had been stored in a garage that collapsed, crushing five of the vehicles and sending the sixth sliding down the mountainside and into a river. [Continue reading…]

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