Puerto Rico

Young Couple Tries to Escape Earthquake-Ridden Puerto Rico, Spends 40 Hours at MIA

They were living in their car after an earthquake destroyed their home in Puerto Rico

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A Puerto Rican couple spent nearly two days at Miami International Airport with their young child, desperate to escape the earthquake-ridden island despite having nowhere else to go.

Anthony García Sánchez and his wife Shakira M. Olivera lost their home in Guanica after six major earthquakes hit Puerto Rico within a matter of weeks.

"They cannot live in their house, they have been worried that another one would hit," said Natasha Otero, a Puerto Rican community activist in Miami who has been helping the young couple.

"[They were] sleeping in their car, and it became unbearable. So they were desperate to find a way out of PR," Otero explained.

Sánchez and Olivera used up the last of their savings to go to Miami. They were also helped by local business owners who heard about their situation from social media and purchased them food and plane tickets.

But when they arrived, plans to stay with a relative fell through: their baby is asthmatic, and their relative had pets in the house. So they spent nearly 40 hours at Miami International Airport before being taken to a hotel by Otero.

"They haven't taken a shower, they haven't eaten... so we are providing them with all that they need until tomorrow morning," Otero said. "They realized that coming to Miami in such a hurry had been a problem with no plan."

Ultimately, the young couple decided they would fly back to the island to stay with family.

"It's not easy, I had to leave Puerto Rico all for my son," Olivera said.

Otero has agreed to help come up with a plan if they decide to move to Miami more permanently.

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