FAJARDO, Puerto Rico (KDKA) — For the past six years, Heidi Orndoff has lived in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, which is about 45 minutes east of San Juan.
The Elizabeth Township native moved there to take care of a sick friend, fell in love with the people, food and culture and stayed. She’s even raising her 5-year-old son on the island. Now she’s re-thinking if she wants to stay long-term after living through the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.
“In the morning when you get up, you have to figure in your mind what line you’re going to get into,” Orndoff said.
Orndoff is talking about the hundreds of people that are waiting in line to get the supplies they need to survive.
“The line for the ATM — which is 50 minutes away, the line for gas — which took me the other day 14 and a half hours and received a five gallon hand tank,” said Orndoff.
— Amy Wadas (@AmyWadas) October 1, 2017
However, access to bottled water is Orndoff’s main concern.
“There’s no bottle water supply. No gallons of water. Every time someone says go to Sam’s or go to Costco and suffer an hour or two to get in line and suffer to look at the shelf, it’s empty. You don’t have any other option,” Orndoff said.
Orndoff said she saved about 35 gallons of water but that supply is getting low. She said people do have access to potable water but that’s it.
“You ever look at a pot of water and you’re so thirsty and you know you can’t drink it because it’s boiling hot and you have to wait for it to cool,” Orndoff said.
Not everyone can get to tanker trucks to get the water because they don’t have a car, so Orndoff wants to help others by buying water to give out, but she can’t because there isn’t any.
“Everyone has a look of despair on their face. I can’t get over it. That no one is helping us,” said Orndoff.
Orndoff said she wants to fly back to Pittsburgh, but she doesn’t want to make the 45 minute drive to San Juan and use gas with no guarantee of getting a flight. She says hundreds of people are waiting in line at the airport and flights are either expensive or sold out. Orndoff is hoping to make it back to Pittsburgh with her son in the next week.