Rhode Islanders with roots in Puerto Rico frustrated with blackouts

By: Chloe Leshner



EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The people of Puerto Rico were once again in the dark. Residents faced the worst blackout since Hurricane Maria hit and Rhode Islanders with family there are growing frustrated.

The power has been restored now but the island-wide outage had many on edge and Rhode Islanders with roots in Puerto Rico are wondering if the island will ever return to what it was before Hurricane Maria hit in September.

The lights were off for some time in Puerto Rico and some people in the United States also felt left in the dark, unable to get in touch with their family members on the island.

"What’s going on, what’s happening, do they need assistance, is any family member sick, is 911 working," questions Yaritza Quirindongo of East Providence.

The list of worries goes on and on for Quirindongo who has organized several local relief projects with Operation Ponce Relief, sending goods to Puerto Rico in the 7 months since the hurricane hit.

"It’s still recovering and it’s frustrating because I feel like the government is not doing enough for them," she says.

Power on the entire island went down Wednesday after officials say a contractor using an excavator accidentally brought a line down.

People were directing traffic themselves with gridlock on the roads, generators revving as frustration grows.

"They can’t go shopping because the electricity is down, they can’t go to the pharmacy to retrieve their medication because again, the electricity is down," says Quirindongo.

It has some wondering if the island will ever be restored to what it was.

"It’s depressing and it’s really frustrating. It’s not giving us, the ones who currently live in Rhode Island a reason to go back home. It’s very disappointing," she says.

Unfortunately the grid is still unstable and hurricane season is right around the corner, it starts June 1.

(C) WLNE/ABC 6 2018