GREENSBORO, NC -- As Hurricane Maria inches closer to the North Carolina coast, one Triad woman is already feeling the impacts of the storm on an emotional level.
Nyanna Ortiz is having a hard time being a college student at NC A&T State University when all she can think about is her family in Puerto Rico.
“It just makes me devastated,” said Ortiz. “It really breaks my heart.”
Hurricane Maria flooded communities, damaged homes, and killed at least six people in Puerto Rico.
“Everything is flooded. Trees are on the street. Power is out,” said Ortiz. “Everything is just really chaotic. It doesn't look like home at all.”
Ortiz says the worst part is not being able to talk to her family.
She has uncles, aunts, cousins, and grandparents that are stuck in the dark in Puerto Rico.
The entire island is still without power and officials estimate it could take weeks or even months for electricity to be restored.
“I'm very anxious that I can't talk to my family,” said Ortiz. “Power is completely out. There's no way to contact them. I'm just very anxious.”
Phone calls have been few and far between so Ortiz has been using a smartphone app called ‘Marco Polo.’
Using the app, she can send and receive pictures and videos with her family when cellular service is available.
“We are very supportive and we are very loving,” said Ortiz. “As a nation we will be really united from this even more.”
Ortiz says her family is not hurt physically, but she is worried about the long term lasting impacts to the island she calls home.
“Puerto Rico was a very poor island to begin with and I feel like after this, it's going to be really hard to bounce back from it,” said Ortiz.
Ortiz has a trip planned to Puerto Rico in December but doesn't know if she'll be able to go because of all the storm damage.
Maria was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years.
If you have not been able to contact your loved ones in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, here's what you can do:
• Contact the island's disaster relief team by emailing email@example.com
• Include your contact information and as much detailed information about your family member or friend as possible