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Puerto Rican Storm Refugees

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Prime Timers from Puerto Rico, Ricardo Otero and Marc Turner, took a much needed break from the grim aftermath of Hurricane Maria when they cruised the Caribbean with other Prime Timers from around the world this January.

Without electricity in Cidra, 45 minutes south of San Juan, they have no air conditioning, so they stay outside playing cards every night while the mosquitoes feed on them. "Then we go to bed with the bugs buzzing around our heads", Otero said.

Going on five months in their mountain community without electricity and running water requires buying ice for their food cooler. In September and October, they spent about three hours every day standing in line to buy ice. Without electricity for a refrigerator, their food choices are limited to canned goods and very few perishables.

Electric generators that run on diesel gas were not available from retailers but two months after the storm, they bought one from a roadside vendor for $1,000 that normally would sell for $300 at a retail store. Getting fuel for the generator which they run for three hours at night was difficult shortly after the storm but now it's more available and they use it for three hours at night.

Otero has lived in Puerto Rico since he was six years old and Turner moved from Fort Thomas, KY in Sept. 2016. They were married a month after Hurricane Maria.

Although Puerto Rico has been Otero's home for most of his life, the current harsh living circumstances have necessitated possible relocation to the mainland for this Prime Timers couple.

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