COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - While some relief efforts are getting to those devastated by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, families here in Southern Colorado with roots on the island say much more help is needed.
"Still not looking very good," Marien Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez was born and raised in Puerto Rico but now lives in Colorado Springs.
"My beautiful island that I grew up is suffering," Rodriguez said. "It's just hard to see."
Everywhere on Puerto Rico is devastated. Infrastructure is ruined, power is still out and communication is almost impossible.
"We've been crying for a week just trying to process it," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez's father, aunt and many other family members are left stranded on the Island.
"One of my aunts, it took almost five days, six days to be able to get to a neighbor's house to get to a landline to let her daughter know that everybody is okay," Rodriguez said. "Puerto Rico is flattened. It's completely flattened. It's going to take years to recover, even with good aid."
Victor Morris talked with KRDO NewsChannel 13 via FaceTime from the Miami Airport. He's headed back home to Colorado Springs from Puerto Rico. Morris was there as Hurricane Maria hit and lived in the aftermath.
"It was a lot of power lines, you name it, trees everywhere, sheet metals everywhere, it looked like a combat zone," Morris said.
Morris shared a video that shows a lengthy line for a gas station.
"Some of those guys are waiting for a few days just to get gas and when they get to the finish line, that's when they get the news that there's no gas for them to pick up," Morris said.
His heart breaks as well for his island, friends, and family.
"I feel so bad for the people of Puerto Rico right now, for the suffering," Morris said.
Both Morris and Rodriguez shared how the people of Puerto Rico need more help.
"There are people literally dying because they don't have the aid. Just take two seconds to think about that and how it affects you," Rodriguez said. "Being American and not getting the same response as other Americans would is sort of like an extra blow because we (Puerto Rico) are part of the U.S."
Rodriguez and Morris also mentioned that the people in Puerto Rico are getting defensive and desperate. Some situations are turning violent, fighting over what necessities are on the island.
"There are people being held up at gunpoint for their food and water and generators," Rodriguez said. "People are getting so desperate that they are in the middle of this crisis threatening other people's lives with guns to get necessary supplies."
One way to donate to Puerto Rican relief efforts is through Unidos Por Puerto Rico.