‘It needs to get fixed:’ Former Durham police chief witnesses damage in Puerto Rico

November 23, 2017 GMT

Two months have passed since Hurricane Maria tore through Puerto Rico and the island is still struggling.

The island is only generating half the amount of power it needs and those who do have power experience daily blackouts. The government says there is water available to 90 percent of the island, but all of it must be boiled before drinking.

Former Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez witnessed the damage done to Puerto Rico by Hurricane Maria when his daughter returned to the island for her wedding earlier this month.

For Lopez and his family, the decision to return to Puerto Rico was tough after his daughter’s wedding venue was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. Though the storm-ravaged island had taken a serious hit, his daughter decided she still wanted to go through with an island wedding.


“One of the things she said was, essentially, if we’re going to do it, we might as well give back to the economy there in Puerto Rico. They need it more,” Lopez said.

When Lopez and his wife got off the plane on Nov. 11, they were surprised and saddened by what they found.

“So many wires down, so many poles down. When you’re on the side of the highway, some of the poles are coming over to the highway, so you have to be careful,” Lopez said.

In many places across the island, Lopez said there are no street lights or traffic lights and many residents are still living without basic necessities.

“My sister and the families around there, they’ve been without water and without electricity since Irma. We’re not talking Maria, it’s since Irma,” Lopez said. “I know it takes time, but it shouldn’t have taken this much time.”

The family made the best of the situation, finding a new reception venue and a new place to stay.

“It needs to get fixed, it needs to get done but I do believe the island is going to rise back up and the people are going to get through this,” he said.