Central Virginians still in Puerto Rico a month after Hurricane Maria

FEMA estimates rebuilding process will likely take years


LYNCHBURG, Va. – Recovery efforts from Hurricane Maria continue in Puerto Rico. FEMA estimates that the rebuilding process will likely take years. But there are people from our area who are still on the island helping and are making plans to help into 2018.

It's been three weeks since 140 Foster Fuels employees left Lynchburg and arrived in Puerto Rico. They took 120 fuel trucks with them to resupply hospitals.

In a video update sent to WSLS, Watt Foster, CEO of Foster Fuels says, "We hope to wrap this mission up as soon as possible; however, there is a lot of work to be done and they are in dire need of our services."

While Foster Fuels continues with their efforts, other Central Virginians are still in other areas of the island cutting down trees and helping rebuild.

“When we came through a section of town, that really look like a ghost town. Buildings were boarded up, no cars on the street. You didn't see anyone,” Herbert, volunteer with Southern Baptist Convention, said. 

The Southern Baptist Convention of Virginia says it has nine local volunteers in Puerto Rico right now.
Thirteen more will leave next week. The organization says, it has 105 volunteers ready to go from December to January.

"We have a team leader that's identified with each team that goes out. So that every two weeks another team will go down with their team leader to continue doing the ministry work that we have the opportunity for in Puerto Rico,” said Mark Gauthier the director of disaster relief for SBC of Virginia.

Most of the island still does not have electricity. The volunteers have to use a generator. A month after the hurricane, they say some people still don't have water. And for those that do using a filter is the only option because it's not safe to drink. 

"I'm not sure how they're doing it. But they're doing it. And they're not waiting for somebody to do it for them. And it's been an impressive thing to see and I think they will come back,” Jerry, volunteer with Southern Baptist Convention said. 

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