LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) -- Friday marks one month since Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico.
Simerly family in Puerto Rico (Courtesy: Simerly Family).
And now, a Lynchburg family is back home after their recent trip down there.
The Simerly family went to Puerto Rico to find their family two weeks ago.
They had not from them ever since Hurricane Maria made a direct hit over the island “It's worse than anything you see on the news,” said Ronald Simerly, describing what he saw when he traveled to the island.
The Catagory-5 storm caused catastrophic damage and a major humanitarian crisis. Simerly says what he saw looked apocalyptic. "It looks like a nuclear apocalypse up in the mountains."
But, it was up in the mountains where Simerly, his stepdaughter Madalena and friend Sonya would find the family. "They couldn't believe their eyes when we rolled up in a taxi cab,” said Simerly.
Lydia Simerly, who wasn't able to make it to the island this time, says she felt a sense of relief when she heard her family's voices over the phone for the first time since the disaster. "I got to talk to my mom and dad, so that puts a little peace in my mind,” she said.
The two are now planning to make a second trip to the island in November to continue the rebuild process. "This time will be a goal of trying to get at least her mother or her father which ever one wants to come,” the couple said.
The Simerlys say they have already booked a flight for Lydia's sister to come to Lynchburg.
They hope that when they return from their month-long trip, they'll be able to bring their parents back.