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Puerto Ricans adjusting to life in Omaha after Hurricane Maria

Posted at 7:53 AM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 08:53:38-04

At this time last year, Hurricane Maria was bearing down on Puerto Rico.

Reports say the aftermath left up to 3,000 people dead and the country's power grid decimated. The wide-spread damage left thousands with little choice but to rebuild their lives elsewhere. Dozens ended up in Omaha. 

Victoria Leuthold with Heartland United for Puerto Rico, a nonprofit created to help families seeking refuge in Omaha from the storm's devastation, said organizers have helped more than 50 families. 

"I remember all of the countless trips that we made to the airport to welcome families who lost it all. The majority of them were only coming with carry-on luggage, staying in hotels, staying with friends, and just rebuilding their lives from the ground up," she said. "They're very, very strong people. Very resilient, but at the same time they've pushed through this year with a sense of need."

One of those is Sanrdra Rojas' family. Rojas said she lost her home in Hurricane Maria and came to Omaha to give her daughter and granddaughter a more comfortable life. 

They lived with a family friend for months and Rojas got a job at a since-closed Wendy's and an apartment in April. 

The family currently has no furniture in the apartment but is getting some donated Friday as Rojas continues to look for a new job.