JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Dec. 27, 2017) -- Back-to-back hurricanes in Puerto Rico in September resulting in power and infrastructure failures island-wide crippled almost all attempts to communicate with and account for Army personnel assigned there.The six-member staff making up the Mission and Installation Contracting Command at Fort Buchanan whose lives were devastated by hurricanes Irma and Maria faced not only their own difficulties with personal safety and loss in the days that followed the storms, but also were unable to share the severity of those struggles with others in their office.Christine Davis, the director of MICC-Fort Buchanan, had instructed members of her staff to contact her by 8 a.m. each morning to ensure her that they were safe. Following Hurricane Maria, it would be five days before she could account for her entire team."There was no ability for them to contact me," Davis said. "And for several weeks after, whenever you would drive around town, there would be only pockets where there would be cell service, and hundreds of cars would just pull over along the highway in an effort to get some sort of signal so they can notify friends and family of their wellbeing."Having taken a direct hit by Maria, widespread damage on the island blocked almost all thoroughfares to traffic including emergency response efforts. Downed trees and powerlines lay strewn across most of roadways making them impassable."The only way for the team to get a hold of me was to leave their homes, which was an incredibly dangerous thing to do for a while," Davis recalled.Despite the dangers present with navigating the streets to seek communications, MICC employees and island residents had little to no knowledge of where it could be found."You don't have any idea if there's going to be cell service because there was no way of knowing anything - total communication blackout," said Davis, who sheltered on post as part of the garrison's essential personnel team to ride out Maria. "I can't imagine how scary it was for my team. I'm on post and have access to power and people. They had nothing."She added that much of Fort Buchanan recovered as a result of its property and emergency management planning, which included generators for mission-essential buildings and reserve water tanks. However, those generators were a temporary measure and not intended to run 24-7 for weeks at a time. Water on the post also became scarce at times. Outside of the installation, recovery efforts were hampered by the unavailability power to hospitals, grocery stores and local government buildings as well as gas to power chainsaws and other tools to clear roadways. Compounding recovery in communities was the loss of communication between municipality mayors and the governor's office."I can't imagine how frightening it was for my team to leave home and know there was no way to communicate with the people that they left at home," Davis said. "They come to work leaving their houses abandoned and in risk of being looted. If you have to stop for gas, you could be in line for seven or eight hours, and no way to tell anybody. It's a struggle every single day to live there now."Davis, who resided off post, was able to reach her family after a few days but could not return home until 10 days after the second hurricane, where she found a portion of the roof missing and flood damage. Other MICC employees suffered similar damages."About two weeks later, it rained again, and everything that was cleaned up got flooded again, because we couldn't get anybody in to do the repairs," Davis said.She said at that point there were still no island-wide communications, and the garrison commander was unable reach her if there was a need for contracting support. As the Fort Buchanan Garrison operated around the clock in response to the hurricanes, the commander offered on-base housing to Davis to live and be available for immediate contracting support.Months and perhaps years remain in the recovery of Puerto Rico. Air travel remains limited, and the cost for flights by airlines has more than doubled, according to Davis. Most of the island's grocery stores still have no refrigeration for their coolers and sit empty. Many residents still line up daily outside of grocery stores in hopes of purchasing what is now deemed essentials -- cleaning supplies and trash bags.One MICC-Fort Buchanan employee, Ray Santana, stood in line every morning for a week and a half for a generator following Hurricane Maria, and he never got one. As power started coming back, team members would have to leave work to pick up their children if the school reported another power loss. Carla Rosario-Rivera learned her daughter's school was condemned after the storm.Those in the office who continue to live today without power at home also take advantage of a freezer purchased by the director in which they place jugs of water so that at the end of the day they can take them home to serve as a form of refrigeration."I don't know how you anticipate something that's going to wipe out where you live. I'm amazed what you can get used to," Davis said.She added that despite what members of her team continue to endure, they are still there every day delivering in support of Soldiers.Editor's note: This is the second in a series of three articles with the Mission and Installation Contracting Command director at Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, recounting actions throughout the 2017 hurricane season devastating the island.