Hurricane Fiona has left a trail of destruction in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The storm landed in Puerto Rico on Sunday, September 18, and unleashed her fury on the Dominican Republic the following day. As of today, crews are still trying to repair essential utilities after Fiona disabled water and power infrastructures in both regions.
Puerto Rico experienced a blackout across the entire island accompanied by flooding rains. One million homes and businesses did not have power, and more than 450,000 people did not have access to running water Wednesday, as per government reports.
In the Dominican Republic, more than a million people did not have access to water service, and almost 350,000 homes and businesses did not have power. Fiona destroyed over 600 homes, and people faced waist-high floodwaters.
At least five people died in the storm. One lost their life in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico, and two in the Dominican Republic.
A United States territory, Puerto Rico was approved for disaster relief on Wednesday. This means residents can access funds for repairs, temporary housing, and even low-interest loans for uninsured property losses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) relief is most welcome, especially with more than 800 people taking refuge in Puerto Rican shelters.
New York City Mayor Eric L. Adams has sent staff members from several of the city’s agencies to assist in surveying the damage. This team includes delegates from New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) along with representatives from the building and design and construction departments.
Hurricane Fiona is now classified as a Category 4 “monster” storm with sustained winds of 130 mph. The center of the hurricane is forecast to pass just west of Bermuda on Friday, September 23. Bermuda is under a hurricane warning, and Americans are being warned not to travel to the island.
The National Hurricane Center predicts Fiona will hit Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. The Canadian province will likely experience tropical storm-like or hurricane-like conditions as early as Friday. Residents have been advised to stay prepared by charging cell phones, assembling emergency kits, and securing loose outdoor items that cannot be brought indoors.