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Hurricane Fiona Damages Puerto Rico's Electricity
The southwestern region of Puerto Rico is currently suffering damages from Hurricane Fiona on Sunday afternoon. While the island of Puerto Rico is without electricity once again due to another hurricane since Hurricane Maria in 2017. The governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi says the effects of Fiona have been “catastrophic in many areas.” According to the National Hurricane Center there’s still flooding from heavy rainfall throughout the island on Sunday evening.
Over three million people are without electricity due to an outage from the hurricane according to Poweroutage.us. Although power circuits have been restored, the site can’t confirm the number of people that have regained power. Puerto Rico’s private electric utility, Luma Energy claims there will be a full restoration of power within several days.
In Pierluisi’s press conference, he stated that it would be a “gradual process” to restore the island’s electricity. And that many power crews have been deployed to put the lights back on in the affected areas hospitals.
Since the beginning of the storm many roads have been closed. Due to trees falling, landslides, or just being washed out. Many of the bridges on the island have also washed away. Also, the storm is damaging many of the island’s residential areas. The government has opened 125 shelters to help people and families in need.
Puerto Rico’s Powergrid Hadn’t Fully Recovered From Hurricane Maria
Back in 2017 the island’s power grid was destroyed due to the category 4 storm, Hurricane Maria. Almost three thousand lives were taken away in 2017 due to the storm. And over 80% of the electricity distributed to the island was devastated and has not been fully restored.
Since the storm of 2017 many families and businesses in different parts of the island are still experiencing blackouts and issues with their electricity. Leonmar Gonzalez, a resident from the city of Utuado in central Puerto Rico, told NPR he sees a lot of similarities between Hurricane Maria and Fiona. “I’m worried about a lot of things but in the moment, flooding is worrying me,” stated Gonzalez. Another gentleman Fernando Vera, also from Utuado states ered from Hurricane Maria. His home still needs some repair and he still experiences some outages. “We still struggle from the consequences of Maria and it’s kind of difficult knowing we’re going to probably have to start over again.”
Since Hurricane Maria, the government has been promising the people of Puerto Rico it would be ready for the next storm. Hurricane Fiona is Puerto Rico’s opportunity to hold the government accountable, so far it doesn’t look so great. SO far to the government’s credit, they have activated emergency generators for the hospitals and stocked warehouses with food and supplies. Unfortunately their efforts to maintain the power grid have not lived up to expectations. But Pierluisi reassures that the power issue wont take months, instead it will only be a “matter of days.”
The Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency have been authorized to coordinate disaster relief due to President Biden declaring a state of emergency for Puerto Rico on Sunday.