With cellular communications shot, Facebook and messenger apps - WhatsApp, Snapchat, Zello, Facebook's Messenger - became indispensable tools for sending and responding to appeals for help.
"She informed me that everybody was fine, however, I was told that our house building, it has basically collapsed and my mother got an injury to her leg", Thomas told us about the conversation she had with one of her aunts.
"It is an honor to be a part of this humanitarian mission and come to the assistance of the people of Puerto Rico".
A woman and her two children walk past debris from Hurricane Irma in Charlotte Amalie in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, on September 10.
The White House made the announcement Tuesday, saying it will pick up all the costs for six months after the hurricane's impact. "We need the federal government to go all in".
Spanish language networks have gone all in on the coverage to cater to their Spanish-speaking viewers, many of whom may have family ties with those on the island. An estimated 80 per cent of cellphone towers remain down, an improvement from five days ago, when officials said 1,360 out of 1,600 cellphone towers were out, or about 85 per cent.
Puerto Ricans on the island cannot vote in federal elections, but as USA citizens, they can vote if they move to the mainland.
"For me it was about the five-day mark", he says.
Dunford said he expects more military aircraft will be used particularly for "generators, water, food, those kind of immediate needs".
"First aid and other goods need to get to the island as quickly as possible. And they were among biggest we've ever seen".
Heavy equipment must be sent to Puerto Rico by ship.
Trump's declaration covers the removal of downed trees, utility poles and other debris, as well as spending for emergency measures to protect lives and public health and safety.
For politicians and everyday New Yorkers, the storm is pulling at the ties between their state and Puerto Rico. As Hurricane Maria swept through the island, it has caused significant damage to its infrastructure including its roads. USA congresswoman Representative Nydia Velazquez, a New York Democrat, compared Trump's response to George W. Bush administration's disastrous handling of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. "We are unloading, on an hourly basis, massive loads of water and food and supplies for Puerto Rico".
Puerto Rico was in trouble before Maria ravaged the island.
The lawmakers say a supplemental spending bill is needed right away because of the devastation brought by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
The federal response to Maria faces obvious logistical challenges beyond those in Texas or Florida.
"We are American citizens too", Anthony said.
But any president who tweets what Trump tweeted about Puerto Rico - in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster to hit the island in a century - doesn't just lack tact. "At night, when we're home, we have no means of communication", she said. The Jones Act has also been suspended by former President George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and by former President Barack Obama after Superstorm Sandy in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal.
"People are really anxious because they can't find out how others are doing".
Energy Department crews are working in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, coordinating with the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, FEMA and a team from the New York Power Authority, among others.
Also, the island is divided into 12 zones. "That person will buy a generator, look into procuring fuel, and making sure there's an adequate supply of food and water so reporters can focus on their job".
However, the Trump administration said Monday it would not waive federal restrictions on foreign ships' transportation of cargo as it had following Harvey and Irma.
"The whole island has been affected", Rodríguez-Andino says.