Local Hispanic leader loses father in 'Maria' aftermath

Local Hispanic leader loses father in 'Maria' aftermath

CLEVELAND - We often hear of a calm after a storm.

But in Puerto Rico, there was never a calm following Hurricane Maria, as another storm continues to grow by the day.

Today thousands of shipping containers were stuck at San Juan’s main port, unable to get in, because of communication errors. They contained things like food, water and fuel.

“We really need our government to speed the process to ensure this gets up and running quickly,” said Victor Ruiz, Executive Director of the Cleveland Hispanic Community Organization “Esperanza.”

He said his father passed away this week, after waiting in line for gasoline and collapsing.

“They’re saying the average wait for gasoline is 12 to 13 hours,” Ruiz said. “I guess he finally got the gas, he was suffering from emphysema…and the fumes caused him to have an attack, and unfortunately, they weren’t able to get him to medical care.”

Ruiz will never know if he would have otherwise lived, however, he knows he might have not had to wait had relief come sooner.

He believes recovery could take years.

“It just shows the complicated nature of the relationship where many Americans don’t view Puerto Ricans as American citizens. So, I think that there’s a lack of empathy there and what I just want people to know is that this is happening in this country,” he said.

He added that his thoughts are also with his sister who is 4 months pregnant.

Unable to get through to her, much of the information about his family has been coming from Facebook, as well as an uncle who has had to walk for miles to get cell reception.

© 2017 WKYC-TV


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