At the launch of the Caritas Internationalis campaign - "Share the Journey" – whose purpose is to promote relations with refugees and migrants, Pope Francis said: "Today, I ask you to remember a prayer for the victims and people who have suffered damage due to the hurricane that has hit the Caribbean these days, and above all, Puerto Rico. May God bless them."
There is little, but valuable information from the village of Aibonito, where the Salesians have a home for spiritual retreats. "The Salesians are in good health," they report. "The Home Director, Fr Juan Martinez, fell and struck his head while inspecting the structure, but with no significant consequences. The house of Aibonito was surrounded by trees; now almost all have been uprooted. The roof of a gazebo and a dining room window are beyond repair."
In the Salesian house of San Juan's Cantera district, the light poles and reflectors have fallen, and the whole structure has suffered damage. Some floods have been reported in the area near the Sanctuary of Mary Help of Christians, again in San Juan.
In a statement, Fr Francisco Batista, Antilles Provincial, said that the disaster was caused by two hurricanes: Irma and Maria, and that the greatest damage had occurred in Puerto Rico. "There is no type of telephone communication. We have partial communication with three homes, six communities. People are supplying themselves with necessary goods and buy, with many limitations, where they can. There is no electricity or food, and water and medications are beginning to be scarce."
Fr Batista said he was not able to reach Puerto Rico, since it was impossible at the present time, but added, "I cannot wait to be able to travel and be with my brothers. I hope to bring four elderly Salesians to Santo Domingo with me."