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After losing everything, Puerto Ricans say: 'We have not lost our faith'

1.6 million in Puerto Rico are without electricity

(CNN) - Residents in remote parts of Puerto Rico are stranded and some haven't been able to contact their families to tell them they survived Hurricane Maria, which struck last Wednesday.

And their food supply is rapidly dwindling.

Coffee growers Gaspar Rodriguez and Doris Velez told CNN's Leyla Santiago that the food they had left has spoiled.

"You work, work and work, and it's for nothing," Rodriguez said, after losing everything.

The rural areas remain hard to reach due to the destroyed roads and decimated infrastructure.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello told CNN that more support and resources for the island are needed to prevent a humanitarian crisis. The island has been left without power and crippled without communication since Hurricane Maria.

While crediting President Donald Trump's administration and FEMA for responding "quickly" and "appropriately," Rossello said: "There are some challenges and we need more resources."

"We recognize that it's unprecedented, but now what we're doing is asking Congress to establish a package for Puerto Rico so that we can have the resource. We can have the flexibility in execution and then we can avoid what could be a humanitarian crisis here in Puerto Rico."

At least 10 people have died in Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria. Nearly all 1.6 million electric customers in Puerto Rico are without power, according to FEMA and the Energy Department.

'We have not lost our faith'

Near the town of Utuado, Rosario Heredia, 56, who is diabetic, is in her house, which is spewing water from every corner. She reaches high into her closet for a piece of clothing and squeezes water from it like a soaked sponge.

Heredia had hoped that help would've arrived by now -- but it hasn't.

In the landscape of Puerto Rico, trees have been broken and twisted, leaving behind a wasteland. Roads are completely washed away and others are blocked by debris.

After losing everything, some residents say the only thing they have left is their faith.

"Really, we are people who serve God," Wilfredo Villegas told CNN's Bill Weir. "And yes, we are saddened because when you lose every little thing you may have, it's not easy to recover... but we have not lost our faith."

Trump tweets about Puerto Rico

Trump hadn't tweeted nor made public remarks on the shattered island for several days, until Monday night.

He began his tweet in reference to Texas and Florida, which were struck by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

"Texas & Florida are doing great but Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble.."

"...It's old electrical grid, which was in terrible shape, was devastated. Much of the Island was destroyed, with billions of dollars...."

"...owed to Wall Street and the banks which, sadly, must be dealt with. Food, water and medical are top priorities - and doing well. #FEMA"

Asked about Trump's comments on Puerto Rico, Rossello mentioned how the President had declared emergency declarations for the commonwealth and that he has spoken with Trump several times.

"A lot of those things are true," the governor said, after being read Trump's tweets. "There's collapsed infrastructure, energy grid that was old, not well-maintained. Now it's a matter of logistics and it's a matter of executing and doing it in a proper and safe way so that people can get the resources."

Trump has vowed to travel to Puerto Rico, as he did in the immediate aftermath of storms in Texas and Florida, but officials say the devastated territory is not yet capable of hosting a presidential visit.

Top aides to Trump, including homeland security adviser Tom Bossert and the Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator Brock Long, went to the island Monday to assess immediate needs. Trump and Bossert will discuss the situation in Puerto Rico Tuesday, according to a White House official.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said on Monday, that the President had asked Bossert and Long to go to Puerto Rico, " to go, be on the ground, and help come back and give us a list of what is needed and that we can turn around quickly."

Sanders had said the "federal response has been anything but slow."

Airplanes and ships loaded with meals, water and generators have been arriving or are headed to Puerto Rico and other affected Caribbean islands, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement. More than 10,000 federal employees are in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands helping with research and rescue efforts and moving goods, FEMA tweeted.

The Guajataca Dam

The governor said the situation at Guajataca Dam in the island's northwest corner, appears to have stabilized. The dam sustained damage following the hurricane and residents living below the dam had been told to evacuate on Friday, according to the National Guard.

The areas close to the dam have been evacuated, Rossello told CNN on Monday.

"There was indication on Friday that there was an imminent collapse of this dam," he said. "Part of it collapsed, but right now it seems to be stable -- at least this is the opinion of the engineers. What we're trying to do is execute a mitigation strategy so that we can get people back into their houses and fix the dam."


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