Social media helping families check on loved ones in Puerto Rico

National/World News
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GREELEY, Colo. — With power out and communication still down across Puerto Rico, families in the U.S. are scrambling for ways to reach loved ones.

“I didn’t think it would be this long for them to get in contact with me so now I’m getting worried,” Charlotte Davis said.

Davis’ daughter Cassie Kauffman and son-in-law Britton live in Rincon, a remote part of western Puerto Rico. The town was in the path of Hurricane Maria.

Davis hasn’t heard from her kids since the day before the storm made landfall and news from Rincon has been scarce.

“[The Federal Emergency Management Agency] said that it was considered a catastrophe basically,” she said.

Families trying to check on loved ones in Puerto Rico are encouraged to contact the island’s disaster relief team by email.

The email should include all of the information about the person you are trying to locate, including photos, names, ages, addresses and last known whereabouts.

The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration in Washington can by reached at 202-800-3133 or 202-788-0710. Include the same detailed information about the persons trying to be located.

Puerto Rico’s local radio station is accepting calls at 787-777-0940. The Red Cross also has a website to see if a loved one has marked themselves as safe.

“I’ve tried everything,” Davis said. “You just get an answering machines so I just leave a message.”

She says hasn’t gotten any answers.

link to a Facebook page seems to be associated with Rincon. There have been updates posted regularly despite no communication in the town.

The page’s administrator said landlines are starting to work and some people are reporting cellphones are working.”

The page posted an update from Rincon’s mayor on Sunday afternoon saying the town lost about 400 of its 6000 homes and there is “not a drop” of water left.

“Until now and for the help and grace of God, no loss of life is reported in Rincon,” according to the post.

Davis said seeing that news was a huge relief, though she won’t feel better until she hears from her daughter.

The Facebook page is trying to help speed up that process. It has asked for photos and addresses of people who need welfare checks.

The photos will be distributed into neighborhoods and then once they are located, their status will be posted on the page.

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