Puerto Ricans Fleeing Hurricane-Ravaged Island Pour Into U.S. Mainland

When Sinthia Colon’s sister-in-law called from Orlando offering plane tickets to flee Puerto Rico, she did not hesitate. Hurricane Maria had destroyed her small farm, wrecked the local power grid and spurred her town of San Lorenzo to impose a curfew to combat looting.

A participant waves a flag in the annual Puerto Rico Day Parade June 8, 2008 in New York City.(Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

A participant waves a flag in the annual Puerto Rico Day Parade June 8, 2008 in New York City.(Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

In a few hours, she was bound for Florida.

“It was, like, all of a sudden … I’m going,” Colon, 42, said shortly after arriving at a disaster relief center at Orlando International Airport with her daughter, son and mother-in-law. “I didn’t have time to make plans.”

Two weeks after the storm devastated Puerto Rico, tens of thousands of hurricane evacuees are packing scheduled flights and charter jets in what officials there and in states across the U.S. fear is the beginning of a mass exodus of historic proportions.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.