Woman Who Survived Maria Comes Back to Connecticut

A woman who spoke to NBC Connecticut the day before Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico has since left the devastated island and made her way to Connecticut. 

"It was like somebody threw a bomb and everything you saw beautiful," Janette Hernandez said in a follow-up interview. "The beautiful mountains are no longer there."

Hernandez hunkered down in her home in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, and braced for Maria’s impact three weeks ago. She knew it would be bad, but never imagined the damage would force her off of the island she retired to from East Hartford five years ago.

Now back in Connecticut, Hernandez and her husband, Pedro Bermudez, are trying to figure out what’s next.

"We had to come back because we knew here we could get the support we needed," Hernandez said.

They aren’t the only ones trying to figure out what the next steps will be for the island.

On Monday, alongside Latino community leaders and Senator Richard Blumenthal, who just returned Saturday from surveying the damage to the island, were several Puerto Rican families that left and are now in Connecticut.

"FEMA and federal agencies are still in the midst of relief and rescue, emergency triage when planning could have been done well before the hurricane. The federal response was too little and it was late," Blumenthal, who went on a one day bi-partisan trip with the White House on Saturday, said.

Once they could leave Puerto Rico, Hernandez and her husband took a one way flight to Connecticut.

They are staying with family until they can get electricity back, which could take months.

So many people with families still on the island are pleading with leaders today for the resources to be distributed more quickly.

"I think they need to unite, work together and like (Blumenthal) said, we can’t look at political parties. As individuals, we have to unite and help each other and work," Hernandez said about residents in Connectict.

In Yabucoa, she saw FEMA officials, but what she did not see was people distributing food and water in her area, Hernandez said. 

As for Monday's meeting with Senator Blumenthal, he said there are now about 80 military helicopters and soon, 17,000 military members deployed there, compared to last week’s 50 helicopters and 5,000 military members.

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