Reporter's Notebook: For the hurricane-battered island of Vieques, help seems very far away

The island took a hard hit from Hurricane Maria.

— -- We've just returned from Vieques, a 134-square-mile island off Puerto Rico's eastern coast which suffered harrowing devastation from Hurricane Maria.

We flew into the island after being told it was completely wiped out.

This once-picturesque island of approximately 9,300 -- known for its secluded beaches, snorkeling and wild horses that roam the countryside -- is now a dream-turned-nightmare: There's no power, no running water, and the hospital was so severely damaged that it has been forced to set up a temporary triage tent outside to treat patients.

"Just waiting, we're still waiting," a supplies-deprived doctor at the hospital told us, adding that FEMA has only delivered water so far.

The island is hanging on by a thread -- and it's because of the strength of its residents who have taken it upon themselves to stay strong for each other to get things back on track by facilitating the arrival of necessities such as food, drinking water and satellite phones.

But community leaders tell us they can only keep this up for so long. They need more help. And they say they need it from the federal government, whom they argue simply isn't doing enough to rectify the horrific situation on the island.

There is serious concern among many residents that if additional help does not arrive soon, looting and other forms of violence may soon engulf the island. In fact, we are already hearing reports of people breaking into homes and stealing gas and generators.

Not surprisingly, these frustrated and weary residents are anxious and worried because they don't know when life will return to normal. They don't know when this nightmare will end. Lines for gas and water remain painstakingly long. Sanitation is a concern because of the lack of water. The mental anguish of facing these issues day after day is taking its toll on people.

Vieques is one of the most isolated places we’ve been to so far. Some residents even worry they’ve been forgotten.

We met June Landrum today, who was hysterically crying because the weight of it all just became too much to handle. She hadn’t talked to any of her family in two weeks. Thankfully today she was able to speak with her son in Florida via a satellite phone.

"Hey, David. It's your mom," she said, choking up. "I just wanted you to know everything's fine."

Everyone keeps telling us they are waiting for help.

Everyone keeps telling us they taking it day-by-day.

Tomorrow? They can't think that far ahead.