Father leaves Puerto Rico to protect his family

Puerto Ricans are leaving the island -- by the thousands.

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - It's almost as if he's a refugee, in his own country.

"A week ago I decided to look for a safe haven for them, for my mother and for my family. That's why we're here,” said Edgar Garcia.

Relying on relatives, Edgar is one many Islanders now in the states with his family, hoping to protect them from the Hurricane Maria’s aftermath in Puerto Rico. 

Garcia says he couldn't be more grateful for the supplies and donations, but almost a month later, he still says “Inland, we're not receiving it."

RELATED: Activists press on Congress to act for Puerto Rico

"It's like a terror movie,” Garcia said, describing the past few weeks.

He showed WUSA9 the photos, which included the cement wall to his family's home on the ground.

Garcia called his Hamburger restaurant in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico a total loss. He also says his finance's hair salon in San Juan suffered damage.

The couple decided to enroll their son in school in Florida, where they can stay with family.

On Wednesday, WUSA9 spoke to Garcia as he was visiting his brother in Virginia.

Also in the state tonight, was a “Virginia is United for Puerto Rico” fundraiser. It was hosted by Virginia’s First Lady, Dorothy McAuliffe.

Virginia’s First Lady says money raised is going towards the fund Puerto Rico’s First Lady created. It’s called, Unidos por Puerto Rico or United for Puerto Rico.

Wilson Hardware Kitchen and Bar gave it’s space for the event, along with 25% of its food and drink proceeds.

"The main problem is the level of devastation. We never before got more than 80% of the Island without power. We still have 80% of the Island without power. At this time, less than 50% of the Island is with running water. Communications are on the verge of a collapse again,” said the Congresswoman to Puerto Rico Congresswoman, Jenniffer González-Colón.

"When you see families struggling with clean water, you can't imagine that in American 2017, this is what we're seeing,” said Mrs. McAuliffe.

At the Arlington fundraiser is where WUSA9 also found Garcia. His facial expression looked like one of exhaustion and despair as he looked down at the restaurant table.

Earlier, Garcia said, “it's more than hard. I got here a week ago, making arrangements to keep my family safe here. And I cannot sleep. I just can't wait to get back. It's a feeling of, that I do not belong here.”

“I have to go back and work,” said Garcia, “I have to get back, I will be back. Yes it's very, very difficult feeling."

Garcia says once his family is situated in Florida, he will return to Puerto Rico to help rebuild. He does not want to bring his immediate family back until that happens.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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