75ºF

News4Jax reporter Vic Micolucci heads to Puerto Rico

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Rebuilding Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria is a very slow and grueling process. The island's 3.4 million people are still struggling for food, water and electricity.

But supplies are coming in, with the help of the military and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

News4Jax photographer Matt Kinzig and I will be flying overnight with the Georgia Air Guard to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where I'll file a series of reports.

The C-130 is expected to land in Puerto Rico about 5 a.m. Tuesday. President Donald Trump will also be in San Juan on Tuesday. 

We were told there is one mission, and that mission is an important one: To save lives.

The Air National Guard has been flying down tens of thousands of water bottles to Puerto Rico to help people who need it so badly. Food is also being brought for Puerto Ricans, as well as the military and FEMA. MREs, or meals ready to eat, are about 2,000 calories each, so you only need one of these to last you through the day. 

The Air National Guard has been doing this for the last week or so and they have been flying in and out of Savannah. The base is like a command center for them on the mainland. It has been taking planes from all across the country. Missouri, Kansas and California are just a few of the states helping out. 

On average, 15 flights depart from Savannah to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands every single day. Each plane takes about 200 to 300 guardsmen.

I spoke with a supervisor behind the operation on Monday.

"It’s all of our hard work being put to good use. We train for this every day, like I said earlier, and we are able to help them out and we are very thankful for that," said Georgia Air Guard 165th Airlift Wing Commander Col. Pete Boone. 

Boone told me it's gratifying to be able to help people who are in so much need. 

"I went on a mission down and back yesterday and I got to see it firsthand. I get to see the mission down there as well as the mission up here," he said.

I asked him if he was surprised by what he saw.  

"I was pretty surprised. It looks pretty devastated down there. Anything we can do to help them out," Boone said.

We are hoping to spend a couple of days in Puerto Rico and find out what the people really need during this very difficult time. It's been about two weeks since Hurricane Maria tore through the island, but they are still having so much trouble. Many people are without power; without access to necessities, such as food and clean water; and without cellphone service.

We don’t know what we are going to get into, but we are going to try our best to get a report back to you. We'll be looking for any way to send it back to the Jacksonville area to keep you informed and to let you know how you can help our friends and family members in the very needy island of Puerto Rico.

We are going to keep you posted and do everything we can to bring our reports from Puerto Rico back to you at home. Be sure to follow me on Facebook at WJXT4 Vic Micolucci, Instagram @vicmicolucci and Twitter @wjxtvic. I will be posting behind-the-scenes pictures and videos, as well as very important information about how you can help people in this very difficult time.


About the Author: