The power of social media is helping ease family members who are worried about those affected by Hurricane Maria. It’s been about a week since Hurricane Maria made landfall and devastated Puerto Rico. Since then, many on the island have had difficulty communicating with loved ones as power and phone lines were knocked out during the storm. While some resources to communicate outside of the island are low, one man has found a way for residents on the island to let their loved ones know they’re okay.
By recording videos and uploading them to social media, Angel Rios Boneta has created a line of communication via his Facebook page for many people in the town of Utuado, Puerto Rico. There have been a little over 50 videos in Spanish and English according to ABC News, where many residents state their names and messages and hope their families see their videos.
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While the videos have been recorded in Utuado, Boneta says that he lives and works in San Juan. He drove out to Utuado as his parents live there, but upon arriving there, many began to ask him for help. See video below:
“I arrived in Utuado and people were begging me for water, for food,” Boneta told ABC News in Spanish.
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After arriving at Utuado to check in on his family, Boneta told ABC News that he had recorded a video for one of his uncles, as he wanted to check in on his daughter and wanted to make sure she was fine following the storm. That one video would then encourage Boneta to record videos of many others within the route of San Juan to Utauado and the surrounding shelters.
Since he began uploading the videos to Facebook, the comments section has featured a variety of comments from people searching for their families and comments of people expressing their gratitude for the videos or that they’ve heard from their families through the videos.
“I feel satisfaction that family members can see that they’re alive. Many people haven't heard from their families. For a full week, they don't know if they’re alive, and the videos help,” said Boneta.