Hurricane Maria destroyed her home. Now Dorian threatens her shelter

Many in Puerto Rico have blue tarps on the roof

By Omar Jimenez, Madeline Holcombe and Bill Kirkos, CNN
Copyright 2019 CNN

Lucy Beascochea stands near the shelter she built after Hurricane Maria swept across Puerto Rico.

PONCE. Puerto Rico - All that is left intact of Lucy Beascochea's house are the stone stairs leading up to where it once was in Ponce, Puerto Rico.

The rest was swept away by Hurricane Maria in 2017, along with her furniture, the power and the plumbing. And now with Tropical Storm Dorian set to hit Puerto Rico Wednesday, she worries about what will happen next.

Beascochea is not unique in her town. Ponce Mayor Maria "Mayita" Melendez estimates that Maria caused as much as $1 billion in damages to the city. Homes there are still covered with tarps two years after the devastating storm.

Beascochea said FEMA gave her less than $9,000 for repairs to her home following Maria, but she says that doesn't begin to cover the cost of what she really needs: to completely rebuild.

"The money they gave me, it's not sufficient to redo the house. They only gave me to repair," Beascochea said. "And that's not enough money."

CNN has reached out to FEMA about Beascochea's case.

Instead, she built a temporary apartment in what used to be her backyard. She navigates her way to it as carefully as if she were walking a tightrope.

"The floor is falling," she told CNN as she walked.

The small square with cinder block stairs leading up to it functions as her bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and living room. She can only fit a mini refrigerator in the kitchen and her daughter and grandson no longer have the room to stay with her, she said.

The roof is made of tin, with visible punctures. She said when it rains, water comes through where the two pieces of tin meet. With Dorian coming, her brother has been helping her tie down the roof and cover any holes in preparation.

Dorian is expected to produce tropical storm force winds in Puerto Rico on Wednesday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Though her home isn't what it once was, it is all she has left -- and she said fears she may lose that as well.

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