SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (PNS) — After a day of worship at Presbyterian churches in and around San Juan, members of a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance delegation began meeting with church leaders and assessing the damage from Hurricane Maria this week.
The hurricane, packing winds in excess of 155 miles per hour, hit the coast of Puerto Rico on September 18 as a Category 4 storm, killing an unknown number of people, as well as heavily damaging the island’s electrical and water infrastructure. More than 55 days later, thousands are still without power and drinkable water.
PDA officials, including the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, director; Sara Lisherness, director of Compassion Peace and Justice and other staff and volunteers began touring some of the damage around the capital city, including Seminario Evangelio de Puerto Rico, which reopened on October 28 with a condensed and revised academic calendar.
While classes are being held at the nearby InterAmerican University, seminary leaders are working to get the campus back in order. A generator in the administration courtyard allows staff to use computers and operate a few fans. Most of the classrooms have been cleaned, but are not yet ready for use.
The delegation toured the seminary chapel which had suffered broken glass and heavy water damage. In one pew, a shard of glass could be seen embedded by the strong winds of the storm.
The campus was also the site of a meeting between the delegation and members of the Presbytery of San Juan, including a few pastors.