Latino barbers in Norfolk struggle to contact loved ones in Maria's path

People across Hampton Roads are feeling Maria's impact from thousands of miles away and they are desperate to hear their loved ones voices again.

NORFOLK, Va (WVEC) – As Hurricane Maria leaves Puerto Rico in shambles, Hampton Roads locals are having trouble reaching loved ones stuck on the island.

Julio Rodriguez, a barber at Talento Latino Barber Shop in Norfolk, says he hasn’t had contact with his family since the Category 4 storm.

"There's no contact at all. I’m on Facebook every five minutes," Rodriguez said. "I have my Dad, I have my Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and a lot of friends, ya know?"

The 28-year-old says all he wants is to know they’re okay.

"My biggest fear is something happening to one of my family or someone that I know,” Rodriguez said. "There are like nine dead across the whole island I heard on the news. It's real tough."

Owner of the shop, Manny Oben was able to contact his sister. He knows that’s not the case for many of his friends.

"I don't think they have water, they don't have lights," Oben said. "The whole roof blew off. Right now, [my brother’s] in a shelter. Some of the walls fell. The house is torn up."

Oben’s family was able to communicate because they had a generator, he explained. Just hearing their voices provided comfort.

"It really made me cry. They're so desperate,” said Oben. “They don't know what's going to happen."

Oben said his shop will start to collect money and supplies to send over to the island. Many workers at the shop said they are trying to fly themselves there or get family out of the area.

"That's one thing us Spanish have, something happens with anybody and we get together," said Oben.

“We’re just praying," Rodriguez explained.

Thursday afternoon, Virginia Task Force 2 posted hotlines for locals to check on family members overseas:

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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