“Living on hope:” Wisconsin residents struggling to make contact with loved ones in Puerto Rico

MILWAUKEE -- It's been once week since Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, and people on the island are still struggling to find fresh water, food and medical care. As the nightmare continues for many, one couple from south Milwaukee is happy theirs is now over.

In the mountains of Puerto Rico, Georgine Rogers of Franklin, shares pictures of the place she spent some of her childhood. Her beloved Ituado, Puerto Rico, is now destroyed.

"There's nothing. Those trees are toothpicks. There is no life up there for them. They can't live up there," said Rogers.

Georgine Rogers

Most concerning: the fate of her relatives -- including her father. He left southeast Wisconsin, where he spends summers, just two weeks ago.

With no electricity, power, or communication, family is scouring online for any news.

"It's just people saying we know people who have gone up to the mountain and they're OK. The area is just destroyed. We're just living on that hope right now that they are OK," Neille Horn, family lives in Puerto Rico. 

As their nightmare continues, Luis Millan and his girlfriend, Alexis Oakes, just escaped theirs.

"It felt unreal this morning," said Oakes. "I'm looking around like I'm home!"

Alexis Oakes and Luis Millan

The couple from south Milwaukee booked a dream anniversary vacation only to end up in the middle of a natural disaster.

"We know what it's like to be without water. To go days without showering, eating. Hours without talking to your loved ones," said Millan. 

After paying $1,600 for one-way tickets to Atlanta, they finally returned to Milwaukee Wednesday morning.

"It makes us appreciate the little things that we do have. There is always someone out there that has it worse," said Millan.

"It deserves the attention like they're the people who went through Irma, or Katrina. It deserves that attention very much so," said Rogers.

Holding out hope news will come soon, the Rogers family says you can help. Donations are being gathered at the Panther Pub and Eatery in Greendale.

Rogers family

"Until you hear their voice and say I'm OK. That's what I'm waiting for," said Rogers.

The Rogers family hopes to learn more soon. Family members will be traveling to Puerto Rico this weekend, in an attempt to get to the mountain village where their family lives.