Situation worsens for Mondovi family in Puerto Rico - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Situation worsens for Mondovi family in Puerto Rico


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) -- All September long News 18 has been reporting on the Critchfields, a former Mondovi family that recently moved to Puerto Rico to escape the cold Wisconsin Winters. 

At last check, the family was holding up fine in their new home after Hurricanes Irma and Maria swept over the island. But now their family tells News 18 the situation down there is getting much worse. 

Margret Perry said more than a week after Maria made landfall, the family is still without power and plumbing.

"She is doing fine," Perry said. "It was very difficult to hear that there is no food, no water still as they are now really low on many supplies."

She also said they're running low on food, with just a couple of cans of kidney beans, some sauce and some hot dogs left. Their cash supply is also dwindling since credit cards won't work and ATMs are out of order. 

The family is hoping to fly out of San Juan as soon as possible, but that's proving to be increasingly difficult as prices for plane tickets have sky-rocketed. 

"People are offering and exchanging high amounts of money to kind of take the place of somebody else and people are willing to do that, fine," Perry told News 18. "But those that can't access big funds to make that happen, or if you are across the island, just to get the transportation you need to get to the main airport in San Juan that's available at this time has been extremely difficult. So you're working with very limited resources to allow for the evacuation of Puerto Rico to even happen." 

On top of all of that, Perry said one of the daughters is now dealing with a medical issue. 

"They're trying to do some sort of medical evacuation, trying to set that up," Perry explained. "And I'm very frustrated 'cause they can't get a hold of FEMA at this time. They have not seen any FEMA officials at all." 

Perry also said it feels like fewer people care about the crisis in Puerto Rico, compared to disaster relief efforts in Florida and Texas after Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. She said that might have something to do with the fact that many Americans aren't aware that Puerto Rico is part of the United States.

"We just can't forget about people," she told News 18. "It's a humane thing to certainly reach out to people, whether you are a U.S. citizen or not, but certainly it would be nice if our government was a little bit more involved when trying to help people, not 10, 11 days later." 

According to a new Morning Consult poll published in the New York Times, only 54% of Americans know that Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens. If Puerto Rico were a state it would be the 30th most populated, with more people than Wyoming, Vermont and Alaska combined. 

Perry said people across the Chippewa Valley have been reaching out, asking about her sister. She said the concern and support is appreciated and she's sorry she doesn't have more information to give them. 

"But we're just hoping for the best that they're going to be able to get home real soon," she said. 

Powered by Frankly