Glisela Vega Rivera and her three children wait to board a flight to Miami. Thousands of Puerto Ricans have poured into Florida after Hurricane Maria. More than 27,000 have arrived through Port Everglades and the Miami and Orlando airports alone since Oct. 3, according to the governor’s office. Elissa Nadworny/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Elissa Nadworny/NPR
Luis Cruz and Esther Gomez had always considered moving to Florida from Puerto Rico. The weather and proximity made it an ideal destination; plus, the couple had family scattered across the state. They just didn’t know when they’d take the big step.
Then Hurricane Maria hit. Three weeks after the storm wiped out the island’s power grid, only 17 percent of people have electricity and 64 percent have drinking water.
Though their apartment in Humacao was intact, much of the infrastructure throughout the municipality was damaged, including the school their three children attended, where Gomez was also a teacher.
“We thought ‘What now? “What can we offer our kids under these conditions?’ It didn’t look promising. So we took the step,” Cruz said.
Cruz used a borrowed satellite phone to call a friend in