(KMSP) - For Jasmin Alayon Vicens, her daughters are her life.
So not hearing from them for days after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico has been almost too much to bear.
"I haven't slept. I haven't eaten. I haven't done anything. I haven't combed my hair. I felt like everything was ending, not knowing what they were doing, if they were hungry, if they needed me," Vicens said.
Vicens sent her girls, 9-year-old Jalaya, twin 13-year-olds Kaylie and Kyla, and 19-year-old Nijah to live with her parents in San German about 65 miles southwest of San Juan at the end of July so they could learn Spanish.
She tried to fly them home before Hurricane Irma, but all the flights were sold out and her parents decided to ride out Maria in their cement house, which her grandfather built to withstand a hurricane 60 years ago.
"I could feel how scared they were, but I knew I taught them to be survivors. But I was still scared because I wasn't there to help them through this," Vicens said.
For nearly a week after the storm ravaged the island, Vicens didn't know if her daughters were dead or alive
until she got a call from her mother this morning saying they were all okay.
"She said 'we made it.' She said 'we don't have any food or water here.' She said there are long lines for the bank. She said everyone is running out of everything," Vicens said.
Now that Vicens knows her daughters survived the storm, she is focusing on bringing them home while bringing attention to the plight of her people who have been disconnected by disaster.
"We're Americans and we need help. We need help right now. My plea is for the people of Puerto Rico, not only for my children. Please help us. Don't leave us out there like this," Vicens said.