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Hurricane Fiona made landfall over the weekend, making a direct hit with Puerto Rico and leaving the island without power in its wake.
No deaths have been reported so far at time of publication, however the island has sustained “catastrophic” damages, the governor said.
Up to 30 inches of rain fell in some spots of the tiny island causing widespread flooding with conditions remaining too dangerous for officials to assess the scope of the crisis.
BREAKING: All of Puerto Rico — every town, neighborhood, house — is without power.
That’s 1.4 million households.
Winds over the southern portion of the island have gusted 80-100 mph, but elsewhere winds have been much lesser. Despite this, the grid is tenuous at best. pic.twitter.com/EGG1m5KY0l
— Matthew Cappucci (@MatthewCappucci) September 18, 2022
By Sunday afternoon, Hurricane Fiona had completely knocked out the island’s power grid, leaving nearly 1.5 million customers without power.
Authorities announced Monday that power had been returned to nearly 100,000 customers, on an island of 3.2 million people, but there is no timetable for when services would be fully restored.
“We’re going through a tough moment, but our people are strong,” Governor Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico said in a news conference Monday morning. “The rain continues.”
The White House said Sunday that an emergency declaration request was approved, sending federal assistance to the region.
President Biden has approved an emergency declaration request for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, directing his team to surge Federal assistance to the region.
We are committed to supporting the people of Puerto Rico impacted by Tropical Storm Fiona.
— Karine Jean-Pierre (@PressSec) September 18, 2022
Jill and I are keeping the people of Puerto Rico in our prayers as Hurricane Fiona passes over your beautiful island. We are here for you, and we will get through this together.
— President Biden (@POTUS) September 19, 2022
As of Monday morning, Gov. Pierluisi said that at least 2,146 people and 254 pets had taken refuge in more than 100 shelters. The island’s National Guard has conducted 30 rescue operations so far, rescuing more than 1,000 stranded residents.
Hurricane Fiona Hits Puerto Rico Almost Five Years To The Day Of Hurricane Maria
While the island of Puerto Rico is still rebuilding from the impact of Hurricane Maria, which hit on September 20, 2017, the island is now left to handle the compounding devastation of yet another direct hit from a hurricane.
The Category 4 Hurricane Maria produced as much as 40 inches of rain in some spots, killed nearly 3,000 residents, destroyed the power grid, and destroyed property and infrastructure throughout the entire island.
Hurricane Fiona has now wreaked havoc on the partially rebuilt infrastructure and set the island back yet again.
WATCH: Bridge washed away as hurricane Fiona makes landfall in Puerto Rico pic.twitter.com/1GALY42xqk
— BNO News (@BNONews) September 18, 2022
My God, Puerto Rico 💔pic.twitter.com/WU3H1wc1vS
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) September 18, 2022
As the storm moves on from Puerto Rico, and officials are able to assess the damage, it will require a concerted effort with the federal government and Biden administration to aid the 3.5 million residents and help rebuild the island.