RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A new team of six people from North Carolina Emergency Management will travel to Puerto Rico to provide hurricane relief on Friday.
It’s been nearly two months since Hurricane Maria made landfall on the American territory, and just on Thursday the island experienced a power outage with only 40.8 percent power generation, according to Autoridad de Energía Eléctrica (AEE).
This latest mission follows several weeks of aid, dating back to Oct. 1, with North Carolina managers providing assistance and coordinating with Puerto Rican officials from San Juan, the capital.
State officials say the island’s leaders have specifically requested help from North Carolina because of our hurricane recovery experience.
The six managers will relieve a team headed home Sunday. The latest mission will last until Dec. 3.
Callion Maddox, who works as the state homeland security branch manager, previously deployed in October, and described the devastation he saw in Humacao.
“(There’s not enough) generators. Everything operates with generating power, diesel fuel,” he said, describing the lack of power on the island. “It’s almost like they’ve reconciled that the power is going to take a long time to come back on so let’s find an alternative to live our life in the meantime.”
Maddox says for this mission the team will meet with a 10-person North Carolina crew working out of the Emergency Operation Center in San Juan. The group will work to coordinate the requests of regions across the island, especially many remote zones.
He told CBS North Carolina’s Beairshelle Edmé that the work has been a humbling experience.
“It’s one of those things where you help others — somebody will hopefully help you and it’s also a learning experience for us to bring back whatever knowledge we can and experiences we can to help North Carolina be more resilient should a category 5 or 4 hurricane hit North Carolina,” he said.
Asked about how long the recovery could take, Maddox answered, “Work. Lot of work, but again being as resilient as they are right now, I think at some point they’re going to get back to somewhat normalcy. It’s just a matter of time.”