Local man fears for family in Puerto Rico as he finds ways to help them

With no power and little-to-no communication, the wait for answers is causing concern and anxiety for family on the mainland.

ATLANTA -- Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm leaving 100 percent of the island without power.

It's the strongest hurricane to hit the island in 80 years, leaving at least nine people dead across the Caribbean. 11Alive is talking to some people with Atlanta connections who are being forced to ride out this dangerous storm.

Hurricane Irma hit the island just one week before and now Hurricane Maria has driven right through the heart of Puerto Rico.

Photos: Hurricane Maria wrecks Puerto Rico

NBC News is reporting that, according to San Juan's mayor, some of the power outages could take months to fix. Here in Georgia, Puerto Rican natives are hoping for the best when it comes to their family back home.

That's how Antonio Lozada feels as he watches the destruction from Decatur. Friends on the island were able to send him a few photos and videos. They show trees down across the island and debris everywhere.

Lozada said his whole family still lives in Toa Baja on the north side of Puerto Rico. The only family member he was able to speak with on Wednesday was his sister - and only for one minute on a landline phone before the call dropped off.

MORE | What it's like to ride out Hurricane Maria, the worst storm to hit Puerto Rico in nearly 100 years

Lozada has been streaming Puerto Rican news on his phone and passed along what he could about the storm to his sister as she and the rest of the family were boarded up inside. Otherwise, they had no way of knowing how bad the damage was outside.

"Last thing I heard there is a town about 20 minutes outside of where we are at - it is this little city - 80 percent of the houses are down," he said, his voice cracking. "And uh, sorry ... I just heard about the mayor of San Juan talking about some of cities where the houses are completely down."

Lozada apologized as he struggled through those words as emotion overtook him.

He owns Cuchifritos Puerto Rican, a food truck here in Atlanta. Through his food truck, he is gathering donations of canned food and bare necessities. All of the truck's tips will also be redirected to recovery efforts.

He also works as a flight attendant, so he is working his airline connections and plans to take everything he collects down to the island in the coming weeks.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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