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Military helicopter teams bring aid to Puerto Rico

From Reuters - October 13, 2017

(Reuters) -

Sixteen days after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, Maria de Lourdes Sandoval heard helicopters over her village of Bajura.

She ran to signal them, forcefully waving her arms and crying for help as they touched down on a nearby soccer field.Im helpless. I dont have a home, dont have anywhere to live. I dont have furniture, no bed, no clothes, Sandoval, 47, told Reuters.

Hundreds of villages, isolated by power outages, impassable roads and downed telephone lines, are being helped by helicopter teams from the U.S. Armys First Armored Divisions Combat Aviation Brigade and the 101st Airborne Divisions Dustoff unit.

Daily missions are flown out of the Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba, which was closed in 2004 but is now being used by the Army, Air Force, Marines and Navy.

It hurts because I remember how it used to be, and now its completely different, said Sergeant First Class Eladio Tirado, who was born and raised in Carolina, Puerto Rico. After not visiting for roughly five years, he returned home in a Blackhawk helicopter.

Everything is so much gone. The vegetation, everything is brown, everything is dead.

On a recent mission over Luqillo, Tirado asked the pilots to fly over his familys home because he had been unable to reach them by phone. The helicopter circled the house. No one was there, but Tirado was confident the message would reach his family: hes here and hes helping.

Media reports led crews to the village of San Lorenzo, which had received no federal assistance since the hurricane. Dozens of people pressed against a fence to watch helicopters land, anxiously waiting for food and water.

Crews are also transporting people to emergency centers and mapping open roads so trucks can make deliveries.

HOPE FROM ON HIGH

Rooftop messages like one near Humacao come through loud and clear. HELP USA PLEASE P.R.

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