Puerto Rico struggles to access areas cut off by Fiona

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico – Hurricane Fiona moved on Thursday to threaten Bermuda and the far east of Canada after leaving hundreds of people stranded across Puerto Rico, where it smashed roads and bridges and caused historic flooding.

Government officials have worked with religious groups, nonprofits and others despite landslides, thick mud and damaged asphalt to provide food, water and medicine to those needed, but they are under pressure to clear the way so vehicles can soon enter isolated areas.

Nino Correa, Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency commissioner, estimates that at least six municipalities across the island have areas cut off by Fiona, a Category 1 and up to Category 4 hurricane. on Thursday as it heads to Bermuda.

Manuel Veguilla said he has not been able to leave his neighborhood in the northern mountain town of Caguas since Fiona arrived on Sunday.

“We are all isolated,” he said, adding that he was worried about elderly neighbors, including his older brother, who did not have the strength to walk long distances. be with the nearest community.

Veguilla heard that city officials could open a road on Thursday, but he doubts that will happen because large boulders cover a nearby bridge and 10-foot wide space beneath it.

Neighbors shared food and water delivered by nonprofit groups, and an elderly woman’s son was able to bring in basic supplies on Wednesday, he said.

Veguilla said that after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 hurricane that hit five years ago and killed nearly 3,000 people, he and others used picks and shovels to clear debris. But Fiona is different, unleashing huge landslides.

“I couldn’t throw those rocks over my shoulder,” he said.

Like hundreds of thousands of other Puerto Ricans after Fiona, Veguilla has no water or electric service, but says there is a natural source of water nearby.

Fiona caused an island-wide blackout when it hit the southwestern region of Puerto Rico, which is still trying to recover from a series of powerful earthquakes in recent years. About 62% of 1.47 million customers remained without power on Thursday, four days after the storm, amid extreme heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service. One-third of customers, or more than 400,000, do not have water service.

The executive director of the Puerto Rican Electric Energy Authority, Josué Colón, said at a news conference that areas less affected by Fiona will have power on Friday morning.

But officials declined to say when power would be restored to the areas hardest hit by the storm.

“We are working step by step. Our next step now is to focus on critical loads” – services for hospitals and other critical infrastructure – Daniel Hernández, director of renewable energy at LUMA Energy, the distribution company electricity in Puerto Rico, said.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent hundreds of additional staff members to help local officials as the federal government approves major disaster declarations and declares a public health emergency across the country. Island.

Neither local nor federal government officials provided any overall damage estimates from the storm, which dropped up to 30 inches of rain in some areas. More than 470 people and 48 pets remain in shelters.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico who have suffered so much over the past few years,” said Brad Kieserman, Red Cross vice president of operations and logistics.

After Puerto Rico, Fiona defeated the Dominican Republic and then roamed the Turks and Caicos Islands as it strengthened. Officials there reported relatively light damage and no deaths, although the eye of the storm passed near Grand Turk, a small British territory, on Tuesday.

“God has been good to us and has kept us safe during this period when we could have had a much worse outcome,” said Deputy Governor Anya Williams.

Fiona is forecast to pass near Bermuda late Thursday or early Friday, and then make landfall in extreme eastern Canada early Saturday, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane warning for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule, Prince Edward Island, Isle-de-la-Madeleine and the Newfoundland coast from Parson’s Pond to Port-Aux-Basques.

The American Center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 km/h) on Thursday morning. It is centered about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Bermuda, heading north-northeast at 15 mph (24 km/h).

A hurricane warning was in effect for Bermuda, where Premier David Burt sent out a tweet urging residents to “take care of yourself and your family. Let’s all remember to check in with and care for your seniors, family and neighbors. Keep safe.”


Associated Press reporter Maricarmen Rivera Sánchez contributed.

Source link


Goz News: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably.

Related Articles

Back to top button