With thousands still living in dangerous conditions in Puerto Rico, many have escaped the disaster, including a 103-year-old woman.
Angela Parrilla arrived in Miami for the first time ever Sunday afternoon. Her grandniece tells NBC 6 she loves Puerto Rico and does not leave the island often.
Relatives knew they had to get Parrilla and her special needs granddaughter out of Puerto Rico. Parrilla has a visual impairment, a blood disorder and a heart condition.
Parrilla lives in Vieques and had been living without power or running water for weeks. It took a team effort to get her out of Puerto Rico, starting with a nurse on a humanitarian mission from Texas, who found out about the 103-year-old through a Facebook message.
Parrilla’s grandniece said Sen. Marco Rubio’s office helped organize a helicopter ride from Vieques to San Juan, and then Parrilla made it to the mainland on a plane chartered by Puerto Rico Hurricane Relief Fund.
“How many 103-year-olds can be on an island? We found her and when I found her, I couldn’t believe it,” said Debora Ybarra, a nurse. “So the issue was, she looks quite good, but the issue was as the disaster continues and limited medications and there is a problem, she can’t pick up the phone and call 911.”
“I needed to get them off the island. It was totally impossible to get a flight out. I called and pleaded,” said Zandra Velez, Parrilla’s grandniece.
Angela’s trip didn’t end in Miami. Her family lives in Orlando, and will be spending time with them.
Velez told NBC 6 she has two more elderly relatives in Puerto Rico and is concerned about them.