Puerto Rico faces long recovery after Hurricane Fiona caused widespread damage

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Puerto Ricans were reeling after a powerful hurricane left more than a foot of rain in places in places, leading to widespread flooding, power outages and destruction similar to the devastating Hurricane Maria five years ago.

Governor Pedro Pierluisi said on Monday that Hurricane Fiona had left “catastrophic” damage after hitting urban areas with 80 mph winds over the weekend. The storm shut down the entire island on Sunday and more than 750,000 people were left without running water Monday morning because the water pumps had no electricity.

Puerto Rican officials said one man died trying to run a generator and another was swept away by flooding. There were reports of other fatalities, although the full extent of the dead and injured will not be reported until rescue teams are able to sift through damaged areas.

Members of the Puerto Rico National Guard rescue a woman stranded at her home Monday in the wake of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas.

Ricardo Arduengo via Reuters

Houses on Salinas Beach flooded Monday after Hurricane Fiona.
Houses on Salinas Beach flooded Monday after Hurricane Fiona.

Alejandro Granadillo/UK Time News

Damage in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, is still being assessed in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
Damage in Penuelas, Puerto Rico, is still being assessed in the wake of Hurricane Fiona.
A Puerto Rico National Guard truck drives through a flooded street in Salinas on Monday in search of people in need of rescue.
A Puerto Rico National Guard truck drives through a flooded street in Salinas on Monday in search of people in need of rescue.

The devastation evokes memories of Hurricane Maria, which struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm five years ago. Maria was the deadliest storm to sweep across the island, killing more than 3,000, causing permanent damage and causing intense tensions between the area and former President Donald Trump.

Fiona was classified as a Category 1 hurricane but still caused widespread damage, underscoring the island’s vulnerability to severe storms that experts say will only become more frequent as a result of climate change.

Residents affected by Hurricane Fiona rest Monday at a school in Salinas that is being used as a storm shelter.
Residents affected by Hurricane Fiona rest Monday at a school in Salinas that is being used as a storm shelter.

Alejandro Granadillo/UK Time News

Some areas were hit by nearly a foot of rain, leading to severe flooding.
Some areas were hit by nearly a foot of rain, leading to severe flooding.

Alejandro Granadillo/UK Time News

Workers clear mud from a hardware store Monday in the wake of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
Workers clear mud from a hardware store Monday in the wake of Hurricane Fiona in Salinas, Puerto Rico.
A road was blocked Sunday by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.
A road was blocked Sunday by a mudslide caused by Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico.

Stephanie Rojas/UK Time News

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration Monday and ordered federal resources to be mobilized to help the island recover. This action will allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate disaster response and direct federal funding to the region.

Biden also assured Pierluisi that the government would “substantially” increase the number of rescue workers to above the 300 currently there.

Power was restored to about 100,000 people in some areas Monday, but many areas of US territory — home to 3 million people — were still without electricity, and officials warned it could be days before the lights over the island come back on. would go.

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