The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia on September 21, 1989 · 6
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The Atlanta Constitution from Atlanta, Georgia · 6

Atlanta, Georgia
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 21, 1989
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A-6 Atlanta Imtrnal AND CONSTITUTION THUtS., SErTEAOtft 21, 198t THE STORM'S AFTERMATH I MESSAGE: 'WE NEED HELP Puerto Ricans Reel From Hurricane That 'Finally Came' By Anne-Marie O'Connor Journal-Constitution Washington Bureau VIEQUES, Puerto Rico - Mayor Man uela Santiago broke into tears as she de scribed the destruction left by Hurricane Hugo on the barrier island she governs. "Since we are islands, we are totally isolated. Please send a message: We need help," Mayor Santiago said Wednesday, apologizing as she dried her eyes. "Sorry. This makes me feel helpless, like a little girl." Vieques and the neighboring barrier island of Culebra took 'he first and heaviest blows dealt by Hugo when it slammed into Puerto Rico's northeast coast Monday, officials said. Most houses on both islands were severely damaged or reduced to piles of rubble. Thousands of islanders became homeless. Electricity, phone lines, and most links to the outside world have been cut since Monday. Food and water are scarce, and the first trickle of relief aid did not arrive in Vieques, which lies about 10 miles off the northeast coast, until Wednesday. Mayor Santiago said half of the 8,000 residents of Vieques lost their homes. One old man, overwhelmed when he emerged from the shelter and saw the wreckage-strewed landscape, wanted to commit suicide, the mayor said. The man was taken to the one room of the local hospital that is still in use after part of its roof was blown away, Mayor Santiago said. In Culebra, the hospital was destroyed. An emergency clinic was set up. "No words could express the way I feel right now," said Dalila Pujolz, a teacher, as she gathered the scattered belongings in her yard. The roof and front of her house were peeled away, exposing the living rooms and bedrooms like a television set. Angelica Cortes Martinez, 39, cow-, ered in the bathroom as 140-mph winds blew outside Monday morning. When she, her two small children and their pet Chihuahua emerged, the rest of the house was scattered across the neighborhood. The wind blew and snorted like a buH. It was terrible,' said Felix Garcia, 77, who lost his livelihood 75 laying hens when the roof of his chicken house fell in. Pedro Camacho was marginally luckier. His house was swept clean of everything, but its gray cinder-block frame still stood. "I lost everything. .. the bed I slept in and the stove I cook on, and, I'm telling you, there wouldn't be anything left of me either if I hadn't run next door," the elderly man said. "The wind blew and snorted like a bull. It was terrible," said Felix Garcia, 77, who lost his livelihood 75 laying hens when the roof of his chicken house fell in. Debris from the destruction was everywhere. Sheet-metal roofing was twisted around telephone poles or strewn like huge silver ribbons across the ground. "That stuff was flying around like guided missiles," said Peter Offimer, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native who lives on Vieques. "This place is so trashed it's unbelievable." For years, the islands have been a home for poor Puerto Rican fishermen and retreat for the wealthy owners of vacation houses. After the hurricane, islanders quietly looted some of the hideaway homes, which were of more solid construction, local officials said. The once impressive stone sugar hacienda that served as the lobby for the Parador Nacional beach hotel in Vieques lay in pieces among jet skis and bottles of expensive imported liquor that employees were trying to recover before thieves could. "Every year they say a hurricane is coming," said Victor Gonzales, a state electrical worker. "This time it finally came, with a vengeance." ML HP l If 1 Train Jaunt to Savannah Stuck at Atlanta Station WILLIAM BERRYStaff Rivera Clemente steps brick by brick to reach dry land Wednesday after rains from Hurricane Hugo flooded her house in Pinones Loiza, Puerto Rico. From SU$ Reports Hurricane Hugo stopped a steam engine bound for Savannah from Atlanta before it even left the station Wednesday, as the New Georgia Railroad canceled plans for a weekend trip. About 400 passengers with reservations were being called Wednesday after the railroad company decided weather reports on Hugo's effect on Savannah had made the trip too risky, said New Georgia Railroad spokesman Jeff Henderson. Red Cross national hotline 1 800 453 9000 Atlanta Red Cross 1925 Monroe Drive N.6.: M1-M00 Department of Puerto Rican Community Affairs in New York: 212-473-4788 NASA Is Ready to Move Shuttle Off Launch Pad Hie Associated Press CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -Hurricane Hugo did not appear Wednesday to pose a major threat to the Kennedy Space Center, but NASA said it was ready to quickly move space shuttle Atlantis off a launch pad if the storm's course shifted. Workers also were prepared to remove a Navy communications satellite from an Atlas-Centaur rocket being readied for a Sunday launch from another pad. Officials said the rocket itself could ride out Hugo if it struck. Airport Closings Interrupt Mail to Caribbean Islands From Staff Rqwrta Mail delivery to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands was expected to resume Wednesday night if the area's airports are reopened in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo. A spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service said there is not an embargo on mail, but airport closings have temporarily interrupted service. The Postal Service has adopted a contingency plan whereby mail bound for the Caribbean is sorted and held at port cities such as Miami and Boston. When the airports open, there will be less sorting to do and the mail is expected to be delivered more quickly, the spokesman said. RON HOSKINSStaff Prepared for Disaster Ralph Thomas, 62, of Decatur, a retired truck driver, Wednesday directed loading of cots and blankets for victims of Hurricane Hugo at the American Red Cross Disaster Field Supply Center at Fort Gillem in Forest Park for eventual dispatch to areas hit by the storm if it strikes the U.S. mainland. Volunteers loaded three tractor-trailers with 4,500 cots and 500 "comfort kits" soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and other personal items. Troops Ordered to St. Croix to Restore Order From Page Al itary Police (MP) Brigade Headquarters, Fort Bragg, N.C., and the 720th MP Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, which includes the 258th Military Police (MP) Company, Fort Polk, La., 411th MP Company, Fort Hood, and the 463rd MP Company, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. 560 troops from the 503rd Military Police Battalion, including the 21st, 65th and 108th MP companies, all of Fort Bragg. Three helicopters and medical support. Attorney General Dick Thorn-burgh said earlier that he had ordered 100 U.S. marshals and FBI agents to St. Croix to protect federal officials and property, said David Runkel, a Justice Department spokesman. People were reported carrying guns after widespread looting convulsed the island, a popular tourist retreat that now lacks water, power and telephone service in the wake of Hugo's wrath. Hugo damaged virtually every building on the island of 53,000. On one street in Christiansted, five sailboats lay in a pile. An overturned seaplane rested nearby. There were apparently no deaths, but hundreds were reported injured and thousands left homeless. Elsewhere in the northeastern Caribbean, civil defense officials said 25 people died Sunday and Monday from the hurricane, which packed 125-mph winds at its peak. "An atom bomb hit St. Croix," said Holland L. Redfield II, a territorial senator. "Eighty-five to 90 percent of the island is destroyed." Mr. Redfield said the White House has been asked to send food, medical supplies and more National Guard troops to restore law and order on the resort island. "If it continues like it is, panic will set in, and it will get worse," he said. Several store owners and hotel employees stood guard with guns to keep looters away. "Keep out or you will be shot," read a sign outside one store. "We didn't expect the public to do this to us," said Shaher Abdal-lah, who stood outside his ravaged furniture store with his pistol-toting son, Saker, 15. "They have something bad in the heart." Roberto and Nora Rivera stood nearby with their two young daughters and a grocery cart piled with clothing they had taken from stores. "Everybody else is taking it. Why shouldn't we?" said Mrs. Rivera, 20. Tourists sat on the porch of the Hiigo Damage at a Olaiiffc CUBA . V-..,. "V BAHAMAS Atlantic Ocean ;30' I PUERTO I VIRGIN ISL ANDSl !25 ST.KITTS ; -Vw 1 i ,', ! c&J'.l ANTIGUA ;20 JAMAICA HAITI ' DOMINICAN Caribbean REPUBLIC Sea GUADELOUPE Imontserrat . ; yCOLOMBIAS J -vr.&-g, ml 80 75 70 65 e6i 55 Preliminary Reports Puerto Rice: 19 dead. More w than 50,000 people reported homeless. No water and no electricity. Heavy property damage and flooding. (L Guadeloupe: 5 dead and 80 . w injured. More than 10,000 left homeless. Heavy property damage, power lines downed and cash crops heavily damaged. Antigua: 2 dead. Widespread w wind and rain damage. f St. Kltts: Widespread damage. Source: National Hurricane Center, A.P. Montserrat: 6 dead. Nearly all the island's 12,000 residents left homeless. No reports on the number of injured. .,. t U.S. Virgin Islands: Winds tore the roofs off 75 percent of the homes. Stores in Christian- sted heavily damaged; reports of tooting. British Virgin Islands: Trees 1 uprooted, power and communications out. On the resort island of Tortola, reports of numerous injuries and scores of homes destroyed. King Christian Hotel, protected by employees carrying shotguns. "It was horrendous," said Rose Hertzog of Northampton, Pa., who waited out the storm in the hotel laundry room. "I thought we were going to die." Like the other thousand or so tourists on the island, she was waiting for the first flight out "I'll sit anywhere," she said. "I don't care if they put me in one of those transports." Pan Am arranged for a flight late Wednesday to carry those in need of medical attention, said Ter-rance E. Highfield, the airline's director in the islands. More flights will be offered today, he said. "The private citizens around here are beginning to walk around with pistols on their hips, and there's going to be real trouble if somebody doesn't come in and quiet it down," Stu Ragland, a doctor on St. Croix, told an amateur radio operator. A Coast Guard office in Miami said personnel from the 270-foot cutter Bear went ashore Wednesday. Petty Officer John Ware of Coast Guard headquarters in San The Associated Press Juan said the cutter came ashore and took 40 people off the island. Petty Officer Allen Burd, also in San Juan, said anybody would be taken off who wants to leave. Coast Guard officers earlier described the looting as "serious" and said the crew was evacuating "all people from the island who fear for their safety." "Our shore party went ashore and basically determined there was a complete breakdown of authority. There's a very high indication that innocent people are going to get hurt in an act of violence there," Coast Guard Lt. Jeff Karonis said in Miami. Tourists pleaded with reporters landing in Christiansted to take them off. 4 "When we landed in a helicopter, we were pounced upon by about 15 tourists, said Gary Wil Hams, a reporter for the San Juan daily El Nuevo Dia. "They said, Please get food! Please get water! Please help us! They're looting. We've seen police looting. We've seen National Guard looting There's no law and order here.' " The Associated Press contribut ed to this article. ivi odel's coat Be comfortable with style that works easily, by Swirl"" . 1 1 u1 i if i .."ii',,i 1 ,..." 'ii'1 ". ; inn." .' . , iii., .1 1 awaL ... . A sense of femininity with a sense of practicality. That's American style. Here blue and white stripes interspersed with pink blossoms decorate easy-care polyester-and-cotton. Wide roll cuffs, snap front and large puff pockets. 8-18 sizes; $39. The collection, $39-$46 Loungewear-all stores

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