Hurricane Fiona has caused flooding and widespread power outages throughout Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, with as many as eight deaths and over 1,000 rescues performed in Puerto Rico due to destruction brought about by the hurricane.
Agencies across the globe are sending aid to the island, including the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA), the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), the Red Cross, New York City emergency management staff, the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) and a number of others.
Relief efforts include monitoring and assessing damage caused by Hurricane Fiona; removing fallen trees and debris; managing emergency shelters; supplying donated blood to hospitals; and restoring power to communities across the island, according to statements from the New York City Mayor's Office and the Tennessee Red Cross. New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar 1.2 million residents of Puerto Rico do not have access to electricity and 27% of the island lacks running water as of September 21, 2022.
Recuse efforts have been hindered in part by dangerous weather conditions on the island. "Large parts of the island continue to remain inaccessible to rescuers and hundreds have been forced from their homes, many of which will be deemed inhabitable," said Ivonne Quiñones Lanzó, LULAC National Vice President for the Southeast, who resides in Hato Rey, Puerto Rico.
"Climate change means that Puerto Rico is only going to see more intense storms,” said Carlos Fajardo, LULAC State Director for Puerto Rico. "The bottom line is that the island needs to be better prepared to weather these storms and spend beyond the $5.3 billion, or 19%, of the $28 billion in funding that FEMA committed [to] post-2017 recovery projects. Regardless of the post-pandemic obstacles, it is incumbent on both the federal government and local governments to build better infrastructure so that we can limit damage and ultimately save lives."