CAPE CORAL, Fla. -- After calling Southwest Florida home for nearly half a year, a family displaced by Hurricane Maria will be reunited with their loved ones in Puerto Rico.
Ydashia Quevedo took her two young daughters, Jairyam and Daryana, to live in Cape Coral in November, without knowing anyone in the city. They decided to move temporarily after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. Their home in Arecibo, which is on the Northwest side of the island, sustained minimal damage. However, the area was left without power for several months. "We left everything behind. Our home, everything we had. But it was for the safety and security of the girls," Quevedo said.
Quevedo was able to enroll her third-grader in a Lee County school, where she will finish out the year. She said the community has welcomed her family with open arms, and the experience has been an opportunity to strengthen her English. "It's a new adventure. I like that," daughter Daryana said.
Now the family is preparing to return to Puerto Rico. More than half a year after the storm, parts of the island still do not have power and basic resources. Federal officials said Wednesday they expect to have a plan to strengthen and stabilize Puerto Rico's electrical grid by June.
Quevedo says the damage to the island is devastating, infrastructure on the island is slowly improving, and the event has brought out the best in Puerto Ricans. "It's also beautiful seeing how we're persevering and seeing everyone unite as one. Something good comes out of all things bad."