An East Tennessee woman with family in Puerto Rico said the United States government is not doing enough to help her loved ones impacted by Hurricanes Maria and Irma.
Melissa Cordero has been living in Gatlinburg for the last seven years. Her entire family lives in Puerto Rico.
“They are running out of water and they are running out of food,” Cordero said.
She tries each day to call her family, but rarely is able to get through to them.
“Landlines aren’t working, and there are only a few strategic places where they can go and find cell signal,” she said.
As conditions on the U.S. territory worsen, Melissa said she's becoming more frustrated.
“It’s not about pointing fingers and just saying who’s doing a good job and who’s doing a bad job. It’s about working together," she said. "It’s about saving people."
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz made a desperate plea for help during a news conference on Friday.
“I am done being right. I am done being politically correct,” Cruz said, “We are dying here.”
“The mayor has done an amazing job,” Cordero said, “She's been up there with water up to her waist just trying to help people. She's pleading for help and to have that response is uncalled for, especially when we are going through so much.”
Cordero says Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens, too.
"We are just people just like the people in Texas, just like the people in Florida. We are suffering too."
She plans to fly to Puerto Rico as soon as possible, but her family is urging her not to come because of the conditions. Cordero said she needs to hug them and see for herself that her family is alright.