Puerto Rico struggles to reach areas cut off by Hurricane Fiona

                Hurricane Fiona left hundreds of people stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, and authorities are still struggling to reach people four days after a storm swept through the US mainland, causing historic flooding.  Currently, government officials work with religious groups, nonprofits and others in defiance of landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt on foot to provide food, water and medicine to people in need, but are under pressure to open a driveway so vehicles can enter in isolation.  areas nearby.  Nino Correa, commissioner of the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency, estimated that at least six municipalities across the island had areas of isolation from Fiona, which struck as a Category 1 hurricane and was reaching a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday as it headed toward Bermuda. Those areas are Manuel Figuela, who was unable to leave his neighborhood in the northern mountain town of Kago.  As has happened since Fiona's sweep on Sunday, he said: "We are all isolated," adding that he worries about elderly neighbors including his older brother who doesn't have the strength for the long walks it takes to get to the nearest community.  Municipal officials may open a road Thursday, but he doubted that would happen because he said large boulders covered a bridge nearby and 10 feet below it.  In the wake of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck five years ago and resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, he and others used shovels and shovels to clear the debris.  But Fiona was different, unleashing massive landslides.  "I can't throw those rocks over my shoulder," he said.  Like hundreds of thousands of other Puerto Ricans after Fiona, Figuela had no water or electricity service, but they said there was natural water Fiona caused an island-wide blackout when it hit the southwestern region of Puerto Rico, which was still already trying to recover from a series of earthquakes. strong in recent years.  About 62% of 1.47 million customers were without power four days after the storm amid a sweltering heat alert issued by the National Weather Service.  About 36% of customers, or nearly half a million, do not have water service.  The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent hundreds of additional staff to help local officials as the federal government agrees to declare a major disaster and declares a public health emergency in Neither local nor federal government officials have provided any damage estimates as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the storm, which brought up Up to 30 inches of rain in some areas.  More than 470 people and 48 pets remained in shelters.  “Our hearts are with the people of Puerto Rico who have gone through so much suffering over the past two years,” said Brad Kiserman, Red Cross Vice President of Operations and Logistics. It strengthened to a Category 4 storm. Officials there reported relatively minor damage and no deaths, although the eye of the storm passed near Grand Turk, the island's capital of the small British territory, on Tuesday.  Deputy Governor Anya Williams said Fiona is expected to pass near Bermuda early Friday, then hit easternmost Canada early Saturday, the US National Hurricane Center said.  MPH Thursday morning.  Its epicenter was about 485 miles southwest of Bermuda, moving north-northeast at 13 mph, and the hurricane was expected to pass west of Bermuda late Thursday.  A hurricane warning was in effect for British soil. 
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                <strong class="dateline">Caguas, Puerto Rico -</strong>                                             <p>Hurricane Fiona left hundreds of people stranded across Puerto Rico after smashing roads and bridges, and authorities are still struggling to reach people four days after the storm swept across US soil, causing historic flooding.

Video above: A ‘large and intense’ Category 4 hurricane is approaching Bermuda

For now, government officials are working with religious groups, nonprofits and others in defiance of landslides, thick mud and broken asphalt on foot to provide food, water and medicine for those in need, but they are under pressure to open the way so vehicles can enter in isolation. regions soon.

Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency Commissioner Nino Correia estimated that at least six municipalities across the island had areas cut off by Fiona, which struck as a Category 1 hurricane and was up to a Category 4 hurricane on Wednesday as it headed toward Bermuda.

Lives in one of those areas is Manuel Figuela, who has not been able to leave his neighborhood in the northern mountain town of Caguas since the invasion of Fiona on Sunday.

“We are all isolated,” he said, adding that he worries about elderly neighbors including his older brother who doesn’t have the strength for the long walks it takes to get to the nearest community.

Figuela heard that municipal officials might open a road on Thursday, but he doubted that would happen because he said large boulders covered a nearby bridge and an area 10 feet below it.

Video below: The video shows the damage done to Puerto Rico from Hurricane Fiona

He said food and water were shared by neighbors by non-profit groups, and the son of an elderly woman was able to return basic supplies on foot on Wednesday.

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm that struck five years ago and resulted in nearly 3,000 deaths, he and others used shovels and shovels to remove debris. But Fiona was different, unleashing massive landslides.

“I can’t throw those stones over my shoulder,” he said.

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

AP Photo / Alejandro Granadillo

A view of a destroyed bridge after Hurricane Fiona hit Villa Esperanza in Salinas, Puerto Rico, Wednesday, September 21, 2022.

Fiona caused power outages across the island when it hit the southwestern region of Puerto Rico, which was already still trying to recover from a series of powerful earthquakes in recent years. About 62% of 1.47 million customers were without power four days after the storm amid a sweltering heat alert issued by the National Weather Service. About 36% of customers, or nearly half a million, do not have water service.

The US Federal Emergency Management Agency has sent hundreds of additional staff to help local officials as the federal government agrees to declare a major disaster and declares a public health emergency on the island.

Neither local nor federal government officials have provided any damage estimates as Puerto Rico struggles to recover from the storm, which dropped as much as 30 inches of rain in some areas. More than 470 people and 48 pets remained in the shelters.

“Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico who have gone through so much suffering over the past two years,” said Brad Kiserman, vice president of operations and logistics for the Red Cross.

VIDEO BELOW: A retired nurse heads to Puerto Rico to help with recovery efforts

After Puerto Rico, Fiona hit the Dominican Republic and then bypassed the Turks and Caicos Islands where it strengthened into a Category 4 storm. Officials there reported relatively little damage and no deaths, although the eye of the storm passed near Grand Turk, the capital of the small British territory, on Tuesday.

“God has been so good to us and kept us safe during this time when we could have done so much worse,” Deputy Governor Anya Williams said.

The US National Hurricane Center said Fiona is expected to pass near Bermuda early Friday, then hit easternmost Canada early Saturday.

The center said Fiona experienced maximum winds of 130 miles per hour Thursday morning. Its epicenter was about 485 miles southwest of Bermuda, traveling north-northeast at 13 mph.

The hurricane was expected to pass west of Bermuda late Thursday. A hurricane warning was in effect for British soil.

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