Death toll rises in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, desperate call for food, water and medication

Posted at 6:17 PM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 18:48:49-04

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló confirmed on twitter Tuesday that the death toll from Hurricane Maria is now up to 43.

Three weeks after the powerful hurricane ripped through the island, Governor Rosselló  has asked Congress for more than $4 billion in federal money as help can’t get there fast enough.

ABC Action News talked to the Mayor of the small town of Guayanilla Tuesday.  It’s on the southwest side of the U.S. territory and just one of the areas hard to access due to mud slides and flooded roads.

“What we need the most is food, water and medication,” the Mayor of Guayanilla, Nelson Torres Yordán said.

All of which the U.S. Coast Guard has been trying to help with since the hurricane hit. Teams from Tampa Bay have been some of the main ones helping down in Puerto Rico.

“Bringing food and water into villages that were kind of cut off from the road system. Air was really the only way to get them the supplies in time,” said Lt. Commander George Menze of the U.S. Coast Guard Southeast air station in Clearwater. “We’ve got a lot of C130’s headed back daily, sometimes two and four. We’ve got a team of two crews that go down with the helicopters [as well.]”

Roughly 85-percent of the island was still without power on Tuesday so communication is still a huge concern.

The Coast Guard posted on their facebook page they have now established new working telephone numbers in places affected by the recent hurricanes. They encourage people still looking for friends and loved ones to contact the American Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767, to be linked to their free public reunification system. It allows people to register as safe and/or post to the site as well.