ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The Dougherty County Coroner just returned after spending the last three weeks in Puerto Rico. Michael Fowler had to ride out Category 5 Hurricane Maria.
On September 10th, Dougherty County Coroner Michael Fowler went to Puerto Rico as part of a Disaster Medical team, to help recovery from Hurricane Irma.
He helped fill planes with hospital patients, evacuating them before Hurricane Maria. He rode out the Category 5 hurricane in the Hilton in San Juan.
"Rooftops coming off, hitting the hotel," said Fowler. "Busting some of the windows. Everyone got in the hallway. The lights went out in the hotel. It was completely dark. "
Fowler saved a piece of the roof that broke the hotel windows. But he said after the hurricane, Puerto Rico is really a disaster zone. No electricity on the entire island and the food and water ran out quickly. Fowler said he saw the people going into what he describes as "survival mode."
"They are doing whatever it takes to survive," said Fowler. "To live. They got kids. People that's sick, can't get to the Doctor. Don't have no gas. Don't have no electricity. Can't call. You can't call the EMS, can't call the fire department. Just a sad situation, to see the people in."
Fowler said crime became a problem for the relief teams. He said there are many people dead from the hurricanes and devastation, but there is not much that can be done. They are having to concentrate all their efforts on saving the living.
This is the 21st disaster response for Fowler, including 9/11 in New York, but he said this is the most unusual because of the continued inability to help the island.
Fowler said he hopes he can return to Puerto Rico and help with the relief.
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