WORLD NEWS

Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Fiona

Sep 22, 2022, 10:05 AM
A downed electricity pole on September 20, 2022 in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Although little damage t...
A downed electricity pole on September 20, 2022 in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Although little damage to the electrical grid was visible , over one million people are still withouth electricity two days after Hurricane Fiona struck this Caribbean nation. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Fiona was on a track Thursday to menace Bermuda and far-eastern Canada after leaving hundreds of people stranded across Puerto Rico, where it smashed roads and bridges and caused historic flooding.

Government officials have been working with religious groups, nonprofits and others braving landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt by foot to provide food, water and medicine for people in need, but they are under pressure to clear a path so vehicles can enter isolated areas soon.

Nino Correa, commissioner for Puerto Rico’s emergency management agency, estimated that at least six municipalities across the island had areas that were cut off by Fiona, which struck as a Category 1 hurricane and was up to Category 4 power Thursday as it headed toward Bermuda.

Manuel Veguilla said he has been unable to leave his neighborhood in the north mountain town of Caguas since Fiona swept in on Sunday.

“We are all isolated,” he said, adding that he worries about elderly neighbors, including his older brother who does not have the strength for the long walk it takes to reach the closest community.

Veguilla heard that municipal officials might open a pathway Thursday, but he doubted that would happen because large rocks covered a nearby bridge and the 10-foot space beneath it.

Neighbors have shared food and water dropped off by nonprofit groups, and the son of an elderly woman was able to bring back basic supplies by foot Wednesday, he said.

Veguilla said that in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck five years ago and resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, he and others used picks and shovels to clear the debris. But Fiona was different, unleashing huge landslides.

“I cannot throw those rocks over my shoulder,” he said.

Like hundreds of thousands of other Puerto Ricans after Fiona, Veguilla had no water or electricity service, but said there is a natural water source nearby.

Fiona sparked an islandwide blackout when it hit Puerto Rico’s southwest region, which already was still trying to recover from a series of strong earthquakes in recent years. Some 62% of 1.47 million customers remained without power Thursday, four days after the storm, amid an extreme heat alert issued by the National Weather Service. Some 36% of customers, or nearly half a million, did not have water service.

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent hundreds of additional personnel to help local officials as the federal government approved a major disaster declaration and announced a public health emergency on the island.

Neither local nor federal government officials had 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 remained in shelters.

“Our hearts go out to the people of Puerto Rico who have endured so much suffering over the last couple of years,” said Brad Kieserman, vice president of operations and logistics at the Red Cross.

After Puerto Rico, Fiona pummeled the Dominican Republic and then roared over the Turks and Caicos Islands as it strengthened. Officials there reported relatively light damage and no deaths, though the eye of the storm passed close to Grand Turk, the small British territory’s capital island, on Tuesday.

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

Fiona was forecast to pass near Bermuda late Thursday or early Friday, and then hit easternmost Canada early Saturday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

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

The U.S. center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph (215 kph) on Thursday morning. It was centered about 410 miles (660 kilometers) southwest of Bermuda, heading north-northeast at 15 mph (24 kph).

A hurricane warning was in effect for Bermuda.

___

Associated Press reporter Maricarmen Rivera Sánchez contributed.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 11: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar speaks with col...
MALLIKA SEN, Associated Press

India stays neutral on Ukraine war, previews G-20 term at UN

India’s foreign minister laid out the country’s plans for its turn at the G-20 presidency during the U.N General Assembly.
21 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern speaks at the 77th ...
JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press

As Ukraine worries UN, some leaders rue what’s pushed aside

In speech after speech, world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly are spotlighting Russia’s war in Ukraine.
21 hours ago
Americans Alexander John-Robert Drueke, right, and Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, left, are pictured here aft...
Kylie Atwood, CNN

2 Americans captured by Russian-backed forces are back on US soil

Two Americans who had been held by Russian-backed forces for more than three months were back on US soil Friday afternoon.
21 hours ago
Post-tropical storm Fiona in Irish Cova, Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island in Canada Sept. 24, 2022...
ROB GILLIES Associated Press

Fiona washes houses away, knocks out power in Canada

Strong rain and winds are lashing the Atlantic Canada region as Fiona hits as a powerful post-tropical cyclone. Canadian forecasters are warning it could be one of the most severe storms in the country's history. Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn Saturday after transforming from a hurricane into a post-tropical cyclone. Forecasters caution that despite the change, Fiona still has hurricane-strength winds and will bring drenching rains and huge waves. More than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada are affected by outages. Ocean waves pounded the town of Channel-Port Aux Basques on the southern coast of Newfoundland, where entire structures were washed into the sea.
21 hours ago
In an aerial view, a woman walks by a destroyed building on September 23, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine. I...
KHALIL HAMRA and MEHMET GUZEL, Associated Press

Russian men join exodus, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine

Military-aged men have joined an exodus from Russia on the second full day of a partial military mobilization.
2 days ago
An aerial view of the destruction of residential buildings on Sept. 20, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Iz...
Associated Press

UN rights experts present evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

A team of experts commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body to look into rights violations in Ukraine says its initial investigation has turned up evidence of war crimes in the country.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Fiona