GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- John Hoogeveen is a missionary originally from Hamilton, Michigan, who has been living in Puerto Rico for the past three years. On Thursday, he gave FOX 17 a tour via Skype of some of the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. The storm is making its way towards Florida. The Category 5 hurricane passed through the island Wednesday night.
"It was definitely more than anything we have experienced in West Michigan," said Hoogeveen. "The heavy stuff came (Wednesday) night while we were sleeping, and we woke up this morning to downed power lines, some tile has blown off roofs and downed trees."
Hoogeveen says the entire island is without power and water, and there's no definitive timeline for return of basic services. Hoogeveen said he has heard it could take from a week to six months.
Right now, his family of five is surviving on water jugs and a small generator.
"We're pretty much in the dark here," said Hoogeveen. "The cable and internet company is completely down, so we are all in the dark. We are relying on you guys to give us some proper feedback just through Facebook for what's going on. We don't have any clue. We don't know what work's being done. The only thing we have is our cell phones and the internet that we can access on there through the cell towers."
Now the clean-up efforts begin.
"They've been working since four o'clock this morning cleaning up this area, so they're doing really good," said Hoogeveen.
Hoogeveen hopes people on the mainland will remember the islands affected by the hurricane. "Our biggest fear is that people forget about us," said Hoogeveen. "Everybody's focus is on Florida right now. Our hearts go out to Florida, we have a lot of friends in Florida, but what happens a lot is people focus on the mainland, and they forget about us."
Hoogeveen's family will be headed to Texas at the end of the month to help with relief efforts for Hurricane Harvey. After that, they'll likely travel to other islands hit by Irma to help with relief efforts there. Hoogeveen hopes other people will try to do the same.
Hoogeveen hopes other people will try to do the same. "Find an organization and partner up with them and come to the islands and do some work," said Hoogeveen.
Hoogeveen says he's lucky there is no serious damage to his home. He says much of the damage happened just miles away from where he's staying in Dorado. Right now, he says the biggest worry aside from not having power or water is mudslides since his home and many others are on hills.