East Tennessee woman with entire family in Puerto Rico calls for help

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – An East Tennessee woman is still in shock over images and videos of her hometown in Puerto Rico.

Her entire family still lives on the island and is recovering from Hurricane Maria.

“For me it’s hard to wrap my head around it that they can’t do the things that we are so used to being able to do. But that’s the state of emergency,” said Marissa Morales, a Puerto Rican native.

Morales has lived in Knoxville since 2009. She moved to East Tennessee to work at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. She’s the only member of her family living on mainland U.S.

“If my family needs help, nobody can get there. Or they cannot go out and get help if they need to. It’s just been extremely, extremely, extremely hard,” said Morales.

Morales says it took 12 days to hear from her mother that her family was safe. She says their homes are still standing but they don’t have power or running water.

When she finally spoke to her mother, she asked what they needed, what she describes as everyday necessities. Morales ordered mosquito spray and batteries online and is waiting to send them to her family.

She says if anyone learns anything from her story, it’s that families in Puerto Rico like hers need help.

East Tennessee for Puerto Rico is hosting a donation drive Saturday October 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church.

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