Puerto Rico’s Largest Airport Has Become a De Facto Refugee Camp

Puerto Rico’s largest airport has become a de facto refugee camp for hundreds of people attempting to leave the ravaged island.

According to the Daily Beast, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is without radar, and much of its infrastructure remains damaged since Hurricane Maria blew through the island last week.

“We usually run around 200 flights a day and we are barely getting 16 flights right now,” Airport director Agustin Arelanno said.

These aviation challenges have stranded thousands of people. Some are simply trying to return from their visit to the island, while others are local residents simply looking for any destination where they can enjoy shelter, running water, and food. Airlines currently have wait lists numbering as high as 20,000.

“I’m tired of this. I just want to go home. Get me home!” a woman shouted in one of the terminals where people are seen sleeping on floors and claiming urgently for decent food.

Most sleep on the floor, and are limited to a small supply of food from the one open restaurant in the facility.

The worst moments, however, seem to be at night. With the airport only running on 21 generators, the complex is largely in the dark during nighttime hours. This leaves stranded passengers as easy prey to thieves and attackers.

“It’s a really scary situation during the night. There’s not a single pole lit and if something happens to you there’s no cellphone service to call for help,” Elena Rodriguez told The Daily Beast, adding one of her neighbors was carjacked in the middle of the night.

Obviously, times are dire at the airport in Carolina, Puerto Rico, as well as all over the island. You can read more about Resurgent’s ongoing coverage of the emerging humanitarian disasterĀ here.

Should you desire to provide financial support to those affected by the disaster, I would humbly recommend giving through the North American Mission Board. You can allocate your donation among relief for Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. And most importantly, 100% of your donation goes to help those in need.

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Andy Crawford

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