While Puerto Rico tries to recover from the widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria last week, dozens of Israelis remain stuck on the island. Most of them are staying at the Chabad house until the airport reopens.
Watch: Cracked dam threatening the island after Hurricane Maria
After Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico with heavy rainfall and strong winds, it left a long trail of devastation. Shneur, an Israeli who has been living on the island for nine months, recalled the morning he woke up and saw Puerto Rico in its current state: “The roofs collapsed. We saw many bodies and injured people. The official hospitals stopped operating.”
“Two days ago, we woke up to a sad morning,” he stated. “We saw that everything was really ruined- from hotels to homes and cars.” Shneur and several other Israelis are staying at a hotel even though most of the basic infrastructure is not working. “The power is out, there’s no water or internet,” he added. “There’s nothing to do here anymore.”
Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria Photo Credit: Sky News/Channel 2 News
The main airport on the island is also not operating due to the lack of power. Among the many foreigners on the island, there are dozens of Israelis who are waiting for the airport to reopen. “Most of the Israelis are staying at the Chabad house,” Shneur stated. “We asked about how they are doing. They are fine for now. In a few days, we will take a flight to another place.”
“It’s really sad for us [to see] this island [this way],” he concluded. “We hope that soon the infrastructure will return and we can return to Puerto Rico, our diamond.”
Meanwhile, the authorities on the island are worried about life-threatening flash flooding due to a crack in a 90-year-old dam. “If the dam itself fails, then you’ll see a catastrophic release of 10 or eleven billion gallons of water that will flow down the river, down the valley, leading to enormous devastation,” a geologist told Sky News.