Families desperate to communicate with their loved ones in Puerto Rico — thrashed by the most ferocious storm to strike the territory in at least 85 years — have invaded the internet and flooded phone lines searching for ways to get in contact after Hurricane Maria knocked out power and most means of communication to the entire island.
Maria ripped through Puerto Rico on Wednesday, leaving the territory completely in the dark. As food and water have become more scarce, panicked family and friends in the mainland U.S. and beyond are being advised by the territory’s Federal Affairs Administration to do the following:
▪ Check the map below. Puerto Rico is divided into 12 zones. Each zone is comprised of various municipalities. Phone numbers are listed for all municipalities and for each region. These phone numbers will connect you with the nearest Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management office.
They can give you a better idea of what the conditions are like in specific areas.
Phone numbers are also listed at the bottom of this article.
It’s likely that you won’t reach someone immediately, so be patient, officials warn.
If you don’t know what municipality or zone your loved one is in, you have a few options:
▪ Call the the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration’s Washington D.C. office at 202-800-3133 or 202-778-0710
Volunteers and staff are taking names and numbers and developing databases to check the welfare of people who remain unreachable or missing as the island begins to recover.
Officials say that agency is prioritizing emergency situations, like people who are in dyer need of medical attention. Staffers will reach out to first responders on the ground and dispatch help. In the last 48 hours, the office has received more than 10,000 calls.
▪ Call the island’s government radio station WIPR at 787-777-0940 or 787-766-0505, which is helping people figure out what zones their family members are in. You can also listen live for updates at 940 AM and 91.3 FM.
▪ Contact the island’s disaster relief team by e-mailing email@example.com
Because of high volume, leaders are asking that you only send one email — no follow-ups — unless the status of your loved one has changed.
Include your contact information and as many details about your family member or friend as possible.
▪ The American Red Cross is also helping via an online database, where people can mark themselves safe.
HOW TO HELP
▪ Email firstname.lastname@example.org
▪ Call: 202-800-3134
Follow Monique O. Madan on Twitter: @MoniqueOMadan
Puerto Rico State Agency for Emergency and Disaster Management offices
ZONE 1: San Juan
ZONE 2: Vega Baja
ZONE 3: Arecibo
ZONE 4: Aguadilla
ZONE 5: Mayaguez
787-833-7272 (ext. 7372, 9494, 9594)
ZONE 6: Ponce
ZONE 7: Utuado
ZONE 9: Guayama
787-864-1600 (Ext 1690)
Zone 10: Caguas
787-656-9643 or 787-656-9642
Zone 12: Ceiba