Inside the steamy San Juan airport, mothers sleep on the floor with their children. Travelers, many of whom have been there for days, fan themselves as they wait for a flight out.
The lines are long and there is no air conditioning, but after Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans are eager to just get out — and the island’s governor fears many will not return.
“My expectation is to rebuild stronger than ever,” Gov. Ricardo Rossello told NBC News. “But clearly if this is not taken seriously … Puerto Rico is going to collapse into a humanitarian crisis.”
Saddled with a ballooning debt crisis, Puerto Rico has already seen a historic migration of about half a million people from the island in the past 10 years. Now, following the most powerful hurricane to hit the U.S. territory in decades, the outflow is sure to hasten.