(MIAMI) — ABC News reporters helped assure a worried daughter that her family in Puerto Rico is safe after she could not reach them in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
Miami resident Tere Blanca sent ABC News reporters a video message Friday saying she was desperate to hear from her family in Ponce, on the island’s southern coast. In the video, she said she had not been able to contact her father and brother.
Puerto Rico is virtually without power or cell service after Maria made landfall on the island as a powerful Category 4 storm early Wednesday morning. People in the United States have been struggling to reach loved ones after the hurricane decimated the island.
Debris, downed power lines and trees littered the streets as ABC News reporters drove from San Juan to Ponce.
Once they arrived in Ponce, ABC News reporters on the ground found Tere Blanca’s father, Antonio Blanca, alive and well at his home.
Antonio Blanca told ABC News that he and his wife, Julie Blanca, are safe. They have food and water, but no electricity, he said.
The father also said that his son, Tony Blanca, is OK and had stopped by their home on Thursday.
Julie Blanca said she and her husband had last spoken to his daughter on Tuesday, hours before the storm hit Puerto Rico. At that point, “nothing was happening,” Julie Blanca said.
After 1 a.m. Wednesday, conditions began to worsen, Julia Blanca said.
“It was terrible,” she said.
Antonio Blanca recorded a message for his daughter, telling her he loves her and his two granddaughters and instructing her not to worry about them.
“I love you, Tere — a lot,” Antonio Blanca said.
At least seven people in Puerto Rico were killed by the storm, officials said. The entire island is without electricity after its power grid was destroyed in the storm.
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