Hurricane Maria evacuees in western Massachusetts speak about experiences

Hispanic Heritage Month

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been two years since Hurricane Maria first made landfall in Puerto Rico.

22News reporter Hector Molina spoke with a woman who had evacuated the island about her transition to western Massachusetts.

Two years ago, when her home and business were destroyed by Hurricane Maria, Ana Feliciano came to Holyoke filled with fear and uncertainty. Now thanks to help from the Gandara Center and the rest of the Puerto Rican community in western Massachusetts, Ana now feels like she’s at home.

In September of 2017, Ana’s life changed forever when Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico. Ana has worked as a clinical psychologist in Bayamon, Puerto Rico.

When her business was destroyed her friend from Holyoke called her and suggested she come to Holyoke to work at the Gandara Center in Holyoke providing mental health services for children.

Ana told 22News what it was like for her and her family days after the storm made landfall.

“We thought we were going to die, it was a matter of not getting enough food,’ she said. “Not because we didn’t have the money, it’s because there was no food. You go to the aisle’s they were empty, you look for water, there was no water to drink. So it was a life and death situation for us.”

22News will be speaking with other families who were impacted by Hurricane Maria during our Hispanic Heritage Month Special in October.

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