Arizonans stuck in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Carrie Ragsdale and Cindy Soqui both have family members stuck in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the country.

PHOENIX – La Isla del Encanto, or the Island of Enchantment, is an easy getaway to the Caribbean.

But for some Arizonans, paradise has turned into an island of isolation.

"I don't think they'll ever be able to explain what they went through [in] that hurricane,” said Carrie Ragsdale, who has eight family members and close friends stuck in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria left Puerto Rico battered and flooded with no gas or electricity, a lack of food and water, and spotty cell phone service.

"Going hours or days without talking to them is really tough,” she said.

She and her family members still in Arizona have made countless phone calls on top of the ones they’ve made trying to reach their loved ones stranded after the disaster.

"Trust me, we have bombarded Sen. [John] McCain as well as Sen. [Jeff] Flake,” said Cindy Soqui, whose nephew is stuck.

She said she thinks the weight of attention has been more on Texas and Florida.

She doesn't want people to forget Puerto Rico is part of the U.S. too and that people are stranded there.

But she's thankful for a silver lining.

"The Puerto Rican people [have been] amazing, taking care of them, charging their cell phones. They truly have been humanitarians,” said Soqui.

The group flew to Puerto Rico Sept 16. Hurricane Maria hit four days later.

"Water started coming through the doors and it took down their ceilings,” said Diana Ragsdale, who went days without hearing from her son.

Finally, with a few minutes of cell service, her son's voice came through.

"It kind of rips your heart out, because there's nothing you can do for them," she said. "Your hands are tied."

The family said they were told unless they were military members or an airline employee, they will have to wait until a way home can be arranged.

© 2017 KPNX-TV


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