While Cleaning Up From Irma, Puerto Rico Braces for Hurricane Maria - NECN
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While Cleaning Up From Irma, Puerto Rico Braces for Hurricane Maria

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Passengers on some of the last direct flights from Puerto Rico to Boston are glad to be out of Hurricane Maria's reach.

    (Published Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017)

    With airports about to close on Puerto Rico ahead of Hurricane Maria, passengers on some of the last direct flights out to Boston are thankful to be out of the storm's path.

    "Just to get off the island, it was all booked," said Andrea Candreva-Arroyo of East Boston.

    Candreva-Arroyo just spent much of her vacation celebrating her husband's birthday and their anniversary with his family in Puerto Rico — rebooking a flight back home to escape Hurricane Maria, as the island braces for a direct hit.

    "We still have family over there, so we're praying everything goes well, but we were grateful to come back home," she said.

    As people unable or unwilling to leave scramble to stock up on bread and water, and wait in long lines for gas, concern turns to the downed trees and other debris yet to be cleaned up after Hurricane Irma swept by the island two weeks ago.

    "There's tons of debris that hasn't been cleaned up yet, tons," said Reggie Diaz, who has ties to New England, but lives in Puerto Rico.

    Diaz is concerned much of the island will be left without power for weeks, if not months.

    "We had a weak infrastructure before Irma. Irma obviously created some damage," said Diaz, "I don't think anyone's ready to receive a Cat. 5 hurricane."

    Also riding out Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are six members of the Massachusetts Task Force 1 out of Beverly, who have spent the past 10 days assisting with relief here following Irma.

    "I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little nervous," said Logistics Manager Walter Latta, Jr. "People are getting off the island and we are sheltering in place because we have to be ready after the storm passes to go out there and assist whatever the needs of Puerto Rico is."

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