SABANA GRANDE, PUERTO RICO (WFSB) – It’s been nearly two months since earthquakes devastated parts of the island of Puerto Rico, and in many cases, little has been done to improve conditions there.
All this, while so many Connecticut families hopelessly watch their loved ones suffer.
Ponce is one of the bigger cities in the southern part of the island. Channel 3 asked folks in Connecticut to compare it to a place in the state and they said in terms of population and size, it’s like Waterbury.
It even has steep hills and a cross up on one of them.
Now, picture a city like Waterbury being cripple by a natural disaster and getting little to no relief for nearly two months, which is what it’s like for the residents in Ponce.
Abraham Nazario and his wife Luzy bought a house with an ocean view, a hot tub, and a pool. Abraham worked for 32 years as an electrician at a hospital to be able to buy a house on a street in Ponce. The street name translates to “Street of Millionaires.”
Two devastating natural disasters stole this from them and sent them to their back yard to sleep in a tent.
“A lot of people are going through this. They have tents like that too,” Abraham said.
In 2017, Hurricane Maria ripped the roof off of the home. The Nazarios took solace, knowing they could still live on the first floor.
But, on January 6, earthquakes dealt the home a final blow by cracking the foundations. Abraham says the daily aftershocks make the home uninhabitable.
“I’m scared because it’s shaking every day. It doesn’t stop,” Abraham said.
A broken-down truck serves as a closet, which holds everything near to them in the chance the home fails.
When the earthquakes happened, Nazario’s family, including his son Iran, came from Wethersfield to celebrate Abraham’s 75th birthday.
Iran bought and set up the tent his parents now call home. Going back to Wethersfield was the most difficult decision he had to make.
“I encourage them to leave with me,” Iran said.
Now, Iran stays in touch via FaceTime.
His parents can cook when the power is on, but they say outages are common. The longest lasting was five days, so they have a grill outside for the nights in pitch black.
They have water most days, but they store a supply in a bin for bathing when the water is off.
“We’re supposed to be treated like human beings and I don’t feel that way,” Abraham said.
Abraham says FEMA has been there trying to cut through some of the red tape, but the Nazarios say communication stalled.
The biggest headaches have come from their insurance company, which hasn’t provided any money for the Maria damages or the earthquakes.