Time drags for those waiting for news from Puerto Rico

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Getting information about the wellbeing of loved ones in areas hammered by Hurricane Maria is nearly impossible Wednesday evening. 

Phone lines and cell towers have been completely destroyed in Puerto Rico.

As networks broadcast damage and word comes that all of Puerto Rico is without power, people like Nilsa Garcia want desperately to hear from her relatives.

"The church where my sister goes, I had called that number like 200 times," said Garcia, who owns a Puerto Rican restaurant near Busch Gardens. "The unknown is scary."

"At 11:30 [Tuesday] night, I was on the phone with them, my sister and my niece," she said. "They agreed that as soon as they could get a phone line they would let us know they were fine, but nothing."

Some in the Bay Area waiting to hear from loved ones in Puerto Rico have been a bit luckier.

"My house is fine, but around my house, the trees all fell," said Bianca Ferra, a USF sophomore.

She has not heard from her grandmother. Her friend, Aleksander Bermudez, a USF junior, has not heard from his mother.

"I have no idea how my house is. But knowing what place it is in, it is probably flooded," he said.

Power may be out for many months, which is devastating for an island already in serious financial trouble and short on supplies.

"I am hoping to have a positive attitude about this, that Puerto Rico is going to go stronger after this," said Ferra.

More than 140,000 in the Bay Area hail from Puerto Rico. Garcia has heard only second-hand info.

"A lot of things are going through my mind, wondering how they are doing," said Garcia. "A customer just told me her sister's house was cement and she lost it."

More than 11,000, along with 580 pets, are in shelters.

A curfew is in effect for everyone else, from evening to morning, until Saturday.