Puerto Rico suffers another hurricane 5 years after Maria


Jocelyn Aviles, Staff Writer

On September 22nd Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico. It made landfall in the afternoon on the southwestern shores with winds at an average of 85 miles per hour and reaching up to 113 mph in some locations.

The winds ripped roofs from homes and buildings, and the storm also dumped 31 inches of rain, causing flash flooding that damaged roads, washed away bridges, and destroyed crops. President Biden declared a state of emergency.

According to NPR, the storm left many stranded “without access to utilities, food or medical care.” At least 1.5 million people were left without power, and a third of the region’s population was without water.

At least 31 deaths have been confirmed–some in the Caribbean and some in Canada, where the storm eventually reached. In Puerto Rico, search and rescue teams took about two weeks to finish their search of people that were missing.

Through FEMA, 1.1 million have applied for aid–the same amount as with Hurricane Maria, which caused a great deal of destruction in 2017.

According to VOCM the cost to fix the damage to resident properties is between 300-700 million, but the damage to the electricity grid is over 2 billion.

According to Felita Perez, a resident of Puerto Rico, while Fiona caused damage, Maria remains the worst hurricane in her memory. “It was not even close to Maria. The wind and rain was the worst.: She explained that following Maria, she was without electricity or running water for five months.  With Fiona, she lost electricity for six days but did not lose plumbing. But she noted that those living south of her got hit worse. 


She had also said, “[locally] as far as I know, three people have died. Two of them were a mother and a son who had candles because there was no light and then the wind must have pushed the candle over and everything went up in flames.”

She attributes the relatively small death toll to the people of Puerto Rico being used to how to react to hurricane warnings. “When people find out there is a hurricane coming they open up the schools, shelters, community centers, and churches.”

Felita noted that the rain with Fiona was excessive. “There were about 25-30 inches of rain. It did a lot of damage with mudslides and heavy winds. I was sitting on the couch listening to the radio and water started coming into my window.”

Felita Perez also informed us that the people of Puerto Rico weren’t even done rebuilding everything from Hurricane Maria.