Transcript for Puerto Rico still in need of aid after Hurricane Maria destruction
Reporter: In central Puerto Rico, the only lifeline for this battered city, a single piece of wire. This used to be part of the bridge that has now completely collapsed in the force of hurricane MARIA's wind. This town now completely isolated. We journeyed southwest of San Juan along roads caked with debris, finally arriving at the town. What are you having to do? We have to cross, walk little by little. I took them to the hospital. Reporter: Anthony, who lives in the St. Lorenzo neighborhood, had to cross the river with his father in tow for critical dialysis treatments. You carried him? Yeah, I carry -- I tied him to a rope, then I went first. I had to do it. Or he was going to die. Reporter: Puerto Rico is an island all too familiar with disaster. But this month's onslaught of hurricanes relentless and trying. This American territory first hit by Irma. Now walloped by MARIA. 16 lives lost. 11,000 people still in shelters. With a flash flood warning for this weekend. There is not a corner of this island that has not been devastated. To the east, an island itself isolated, hanging on by a thread with no power or running water. We hitched a ride with Nathan Perrins and Christian Evans are two residents who have stepped up. It started with Irma, we started flying food over to portola. Then we had all the extra food when we got hit with MARIA. We started distributing it back to the people who needed it. Reporter: The idea as de facto rescue service now. Shuttling desperately ill residents to San Juan where they can receive medical services. For people like Luz Velez, she doesn't know where her husband would be without them. He has a heart condition that needs to be taken care of, that's all. Do you feel like you couldn't stay there? No, we had to fly out. Reporter: Their help is crucial. With the local hospital so severely damaged, a triage tent had to be set up outside. We got water yesterday. But any other help, we're still waiting. Reporter: A doctor telling us FEMA's only brought them water so far. But 10,000 shipping containers of potential relief, bound for businesses, are already on the island. Parked on the docks in San Juan, just not near anyone who would benefit from them. My colleague Alex Perez talked to Jose Ayalla, who provides shipping and logistics services for the island. The total supply chain of distribution has been interrupted. There's no gas, no diesel to move around the island. Reporter: In addition, the island's infrastructure, so mangled it would be nearly impossible to distribute the supplies if there were drivers. We need to restore the electricity power, we need to restore our roads, we need to restore communications. Reporter: FEMA telling ABC news anything they have delivered is immediately distributed. There's not a single trailer from FEMA or from response operations that are being held. This is an island surrounded by water. Big water. Ocean water. Reporter: Today the president justifying the administration's efforts in Puerto Rico. They were at their life's end prior to the hurricanes. And now virtually everything has been wiped out. We're literally starting from scratch. We've all seen the pictures of the parachutes with the big boxes and they drop them with food and so forth. That can be arranged. We're 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. How difficult can that be? This is the disaster that will define trump's response to this extraordinary several weeks where we saw three powerful storms hit the United States. Reporter: 10,000 personnel are being sent to the island. Three-star general Jeffrey Buchanan in Puerto Rico to lead the recovery effort. You suffered a tremendous devastation. And we are there with you. This recovery is going to take a very long time. Reporter: But criticism still mounting. Many saying not enough is being done to help Puerto Rico, and that American citizens who call this island home. The president this morning again raising questions whether the federal government should pay to rebuild tweeting, big decisions will have to be made as to the cost of its rebuilding. And this assertion from the department of homeland security -- It is really a good news story in terms of our ability to reach people and the limited number of deaths -- Reporter: Eliciting a strong response from Carmen Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, on CNN. Maybe from where she's standing it's a good news story. When you're drinking from a creek, it's not a good yuts story. When you don't have food for a baby, it's not a good news story. When you have to pull people down from their buildings -- I'm sorry. But that really upsets me and frustrates me. It is undeniably harder to get supplies to Puerto Rico than it is to Texas or to Florida. But that's not an excuse. The federal government has ships. The federal government has planes. There's a way to get this done. Reporter: Florida senator Marco Rubio, whose constituency includes more than 1 million Puerto ricans, visited earlier this week. Our response needs to be above and beyond what we would ordinarily do in an event like this. I hope we don't see katrina-like images. Reporter: Celebrities making public plea forth more help. Puerto rican stars recording videos in support of their beloved island. The devastation is beyond belief. Puerto Rico needs your help and I'm calling on everyone to support and donate. $1 that you give is $1 that will get to the victims. There's a lot that needs to be done the next few months. Reporter: A challenge some businesses are already taking on. Last week my colleague rob Marciano met MARIA Ortiz, a caregiver at a hard-hit nursing home. We can't let them die. We need help, all the help we can get. Reporter: Struggling to keep 11 patients alive. Their generator low on fuel. Now I see when that generator runs out -- What are we going to do? What are we going to do? Reporter: Rob's report seen by the Florida CEO of invicta watch company. Help the community -- Reporter: Loading up the company jet with $15,000 of severely needed supplies like medicine, food, and water. All for this nursing home. With roads still impassable, the crew manage to get to her. MARIA, how are you? Fine, thank you. I saw the piece on the news. We have a whole airplane load just for you. Oh, thank you very much, oh my god, I don't know how I can say, thank you god, god never lets us down. Reporter: The single act of kindness, only a drop in the bucket. So many more needed to bring this once-vibrant island back to life. For "Nightline," Amy pilgrim in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Let me give you a hug, thank you very much, thank you. Next, he went to prison for
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