New Bedford woman waits anxiously to connect with family impacted by Hurricane Maria

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WPRI) – It’s been over a week since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico, leaving many on the island without power.

Maria Mercado of New Bedford said her night is filled with tears and she can hardly sleep. Mercado hasn’t heard from her family, who live in Puerto Rico, in days.

“Even for me it’s hard because you’re eating, you say, oh, you don’t want to eat because you’re thinking about them,” Mercado said.

Mercado hasn’t seen her family in more than two decades. She usually hears from them on a regular basis through Facebook.

But for the past eight days, she hasn’t heard anything from them.

“Crying is like you’re saying goodbye to them, but I’m not,” she said. “All the connections, the phone connections, the power, everything, broke.”

Mercado said she’s scheduled to get surgery in November. Despite her own medical needs, she says she’s ready to pack up and travel to Puerto Rico if any agencies are asking for volunteers.

“I don’t care about my self right now, I choose going to Puerto Rico to help,” she said. “If I see one of my family, I just give them a hug and say no matter what, I love you.”

Mercado said she would trade anything for just one message, especially because she knows her family is worried about her too. She does however have hope that she will hear from her loved ones.

Mercado is encouraging people to donate to Puerto Rico, especially because she says many people who have family on the island live in Massachusetts.