US Hurricane victims begin new life 1,000 miles from home

03:03  04 november  2017
03:03  04 november  2017 Source:   CBS News

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ORLANDO -- In Karen Espino's classroom at Lake Nona Middle School, new students are still raw from fleeing storm-ravaged Puerto Rico.    

"These children are not saying, 'Wow, now I have TV.' No, these students are telling you, 'We have now access to food, we feel safe," Espino said. 

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a group of people sitting at a desk: Karen Espino's classroom at Lake Nona Middle School. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Karen Espino's classroom at Lake Nona Middle School.

In the Orlando area, there are more than 1,300 new students from Puerto Rico.

Joaris Laureano, 13, arrived two weeks ago, living with her uncle and trying to find her footing.

She said it's been difficult being in a new place, and "difficult being away from her parents and older brother." 

She said all her family wants to come.

Espino knows that pain all too well. She, too, is a hurricane evacuee -- the school where she taught was heavily damaged. 

a woman sitting on a table: Joaris Laureano, 13, arrived from Puerto Rico to Orlando. © Provided by CBS Interactive Inc. Joaris Laureano, 13, arrived from Puerto Rico to Orlando.

Now she's helping fill the increased demand for teachers, and she was recruited right off the plane at a help desk in Orlando's airport set up for displaced families. She's grateful for the job, but worried about the exodus. 

"I am concerned and that is a struggle that I had to deal with as well -- and many might return as well once things are back on track," Espino said. 

Karen Espino's classroom at Lake Nona Middle School.: bojorquez-orlando-school-2-2017-11-3.jpg © CBS News bojorquez-orlando-school-2-2017-11-3.jpg

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