GR man makes contact with family in Puerto Rico

Juana Matos resident Hector Rosa walks through a flooded area after the passing of Hurricane Maria, in Puerto Rico, Wednesday, September 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids man was finally able to make contact with family members in Puerto Rico after going more than a week without receiving a response.

The aftermath of Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico, knocking out power and water, limiting the fuel supply and causing a cash shortage.

“It was devastating for me because I didn’t know where (my father) was or what happened to him so finally got at least some news,” Ruperto Cortes said.

Cortes said he had to resist an urge to fly back home to Puerto Rico to help out because it’s impossible to know what will happen once he arrives. With limited cell phone service, no electricity and hardly any modes of transportation, it wouldn’t have been safe.

“The problem is the not knowing when you get there what’s going to happen,” he said. “You don’t have transportation, you can’t call anybody, you can’t even call your wife to say, ‘Hey I’m in Puerto Rico, I’m safe,’ so it’s very hard.”

**Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled Cortes’ last name as Cortez. The text has been updated. We regret the error.