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Puerto Rico devastated: no power and no water after hurricane Fiona

More than 2,100 people have had to seek shelter in 113 shelters throughout the island

September 19, 2022 8:04pm

Updated: September 20, 2022 9:17am

Puerto Rico is without electricity, without water, and flooded after Hurricane Fiona plowed through the island, leaving two dead and thousands affected.

The Category 1 hurricane left the island with up to 30 inches (76 centimeters) of rainfall, which caused several rivers to overflow, flash floods, and impassable roads.

More than 2,100 people sought sanctuary in 113 shelters throughout the island. There have been two casualties so far, both from "natural causes." One of them was an 88-year-old woman who died from a heart attack in Mayagüez.

Dozens of roads are closed and impassable due to the fall of trees and electric poles, landslides, or floods, from Barceloneta in the north through the entire mountainous area of the center to Ponce in the south, where Mayor Luis Irizarry said that some neighborhoods are completely cut off.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi reported that the National Guard carried out 30 rescues of 1,000 people in 25 municipalities on the island and that firefighters rescued 83 others.

The number of homes affected has not yet been counted, but many Puerto Ricans were affected by the lack of electricity and running water. Some gas stations had lines to recharge electric generators, while several municipalities opened water collection points.

A man drowned on Monday after being swept away by the waters of the La Plata River in Comerío, central Puerto Rico, whose riverbed has risen due to heavy rains from Fiona.

In Toa Baja, where hundreds of people were evacuated on Sunday due to flooding, the situation continued to be critical with vehicles stranded in the middle of the water and trees that had fallen.

This situation may be aggravated by the constant rains associated with Fiona, which could cause "havoc in the south and interior of the island," according to the interim director of the National Weather Service (SNM), Ernesto Morales, who also warned that "if this type of rainfall continues, there will be catastrophic levels."

"What worries us is that we are expecting rain in the same sectors, in southern Puerto Rico and the central mountain range. This is serious," Morales added.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi said that "unfortunately" more rains are expected this Monday and Tuesday, and "the danger of flooding, landslides, and mudslides continues."