Hurricane Maria hinders communications with Puerto Rico

Posted: Updated:

Damage from Hurricane Maria left communicating with Puerto Rico difficult, and Connecticut residents with relatives there are struggling to find out whether their families are safe.

Some of them are turning to prayer. At St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Bridgeport, the Rev. Rolando Torres says about 50 percent of his parishioners are from Puerto Rico. Torres is one of them, and he was there during Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Over the past two days, people have been in the open chapel nearly every hour, he says.

"We have faith," says Torres, who is trying to get in touch with relatives of his own. "Our faith is stronger than our fears."

Click here for photos from Puerto Rico.

The storm knocked out electricity, telecommunications and the internet across the island, leaving James Ortiz worried about his 11-year-old daughter Haylee.

"Talked to her Tuesday night and just kind of, in the morning, sent a message just to see how she was," Ortiz says. "No response. Tried calling her and her mother. No response."

He says the best resource in his search for updates has been the app Zello.

"It's a waiting game," he says. "That's really it."

Meanwhile, many individuals and organizations are exploring ways to help hurricane victims. The restaurant Sazon Y Mambo in Bridgeport will host a public meeting Friday at 6:30 p.m. to discuss what the community can do for victims of Maria.

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