Nearly a month after Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, relief is finally coming to victim's in the category 5 storm's path. Hope for those victims came in the form of food, water and a sense of familiarity from Red Cross volunteers like Colin Williams.
“People were still in their homes," Williams said. "People were still hunkered down."
There's certainly no doubt that it takes a special kind of team to venture into the disaster zones, and Williams says their main objective was to help as many people as possible.
He shared images of the overwhelming damage and devastation caused by Hurricane Maria.
“Every power pole was down, every tree was down, and it was eye-opening for me to experience something like that," he said. "I've never seen anything like that before."
More than 40 deaths are linked to the storm and those who made it, are still in desperate need.
“We went to the hospital and we discovered that there was a gentleman there who needed lifesaving medication, cardiac medication," Williams said. "He had an external cardiac pump and he was unable to get this medication from any place on the island."
Williams says that with the assistance of several volunteers and pharmacists, they got him much needed help, but there was no question the demand for extra hands following hurricanes Harvey and Irma was great and at times, grueling.
“We made our way to St. Thomas with the United States Coast Guard, which was an experience in it of itself, and really the second day we were in St. Thomas we were tasked with what many call the impossible mission,” he said.
That mission included searching for many missing people and unfortunately, the outcomes were not promising.
”We were given basic information, some flyers, a picture, some Facebook accounts and we were tasked with really identifying where these people were, because families feared that they were dead,” Williams said.
Williams added, through the destruction and regardless of the region being without power, the people there are resilient and ready to roll up their sleeves to help in the recovery. Unfortunately, even with the help of the Red Cross and other charities over the last three weeks, the need in the affected area is still great. If you'd like to donate to the Red Cross visit: http://www.redcross.org/.
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