Environment

Dallas Volunteer Groups Struggles to Bring Puerto Rico Back Online

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Hannah Ridings
Paola Ortiz, 84, has been alone for three months, wearing the single item of clothing she has left, a T-shirt that says, "Today is a good day." In the mountain village Moca with no car, she has not yet received aid. "I've always been poor," said Ortiz, "but I knew I would survive. Now, I am not sure." After high winds took her house's walls, she rebuilt it with what was available, plywood and blue tarp. "I have tarp, but the water still gets in; it rains on me every day." Without power, Ortiz is unable to fill out the online form that alerts FEMA that she needs aid. Ortiz wants the world to know, "The Puerto Ricans in the mountains are still here; tell them we need help."
After learning that a nonprofit based in Dallas-Fort Worth was sending volunteers and equipment to help Puerto Ricans and other aid groups get internet access, Dallas photographer Hannah Ridings traveled to Puerto Rico to collect images of devastation from Hurricane Maria. For more on her trip and the work of the Dallas-based Information Technology Disaster Resource Center, check out her report.