Valley Couple Makes Contact with Family in Puerto Rico after

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UPDATE (9/26): After days of silence, Jose Nieves and Gloria Flores Rivera said they've made contact with family in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged through the island.

The couple had trouble contacting their family in Puerto Rico last week. The hurricane left millions on the island without power or a means of communication.

They told CHANNEL 5 NEWS they received encouraging Facebook messages that some of their family members are doing OK.

The status of other relatives though remains unknown.


WESLACO – A couple residing in the Rio Grande Valley said they haven’t had news from their relatives in Puerto Rico.

Jose Nieves, born to a Puerto Rican family in New York, and Puerto Rico-born Gloria Flores Rivera found each other in the Valley.

"This is New York and LA, two worlds apart, and we joined here," said Nieves.  

The two are proud Puerto Ricans. They often enjoy coffee that reminds them of the small island nation. 

"It's our home," said Nieves. It's our life. It's our piece of heart. It's our heart."

But their hearts are hurting after Hurricane Maria. Each of them claimed dozens of relatives, aunts, uncles and cousins in Puerto Rico where left without power indefinitely.

Nieves and Flores Rivera can no longer use traditional means of communication to contact their loved ones. 

"They just got cut off. No internet, no cell phone, no power," said Nieves.

"The last time I heard from one of my cousins in Trujillo Alto, and she state – and that was right before the hurricane – that they were fine. That they were hanging in there," said Flores Rivera. 

The couple said they’re using an app called Zello to try reaching their loved ones. The app essentially works as a walkie talkie and uses radio frequencies to connect to people who are among the devastation.  

"We do see stuff on Facebook but we don't hear anything from the family and all we want to know is, are they fine? Are they okay?” said Flores Rivera.

"We just pray to God that they're doing well and hope that we can get a surprise call to take away this concern that we have in knowing at least that they are alive and well, and they can continue on trying to fight this challenge that came up," said Nieves. 

If you or someone you know is interested in using the app Zello to locate a loved one you can find it here


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