Hurricane Fiona Was a Tragic Natural Disaster in Puerto Rico


On Sunday, September 18th, the hurricane entered the municipality of Cabo Rojo and left at 5:00 p.m. In the municipality of Mayagüez, sustained winds reached near 85mph (140 km/h) with gusts up to 100mph. The hurricane released between 12 and 18 inches of rain with a maximum of 30 inches on the island, particularly in the eastern and southern areas of Puerto Rico.


The National Hurricane Center reported on September 18th that “catastrophic floods” were expected on the island. Approximately 12 to 16 inches of rain were estimated, with a maximum of 25 inches, particularly in the eastern and southern portions of Puerto Rico. These rains produced catastrophic effects such as floods and landslides. As a result, authorities urged citizens to move to higher ground. Initially, boats were floating across Puerto Rico using a megaphone to alert the pumps to stop working and to tell them that they needed to evacuate as soon as possible. At the time, the Puerto Rican national weather team believed it wasn’t over, and many should evacuate and seek rescue across the island. 


The ensuing rain led to several rivers overflowing in different parts of Puerto Rico. Many roads were damaged, and various bridges collapsed. In addition, a brown torrent flowed through southern Puerto Rico through the airport. Hurricane Fiona also ripped asphalt from some streets and washed away a bridge in the central mountain town of Utuado, which had been set up by guards and hit harder after hurricane maria in 2017 category four hurricane.


As a result of all these damages, dozens of flights were canceled after the passage of Hurricane Fiona. Noticeably, round trip flights have been canceled for places like NY, Boston, MA, Washington D.C., and Baltimore, among others.


A tragedy happened in Puerto Rico due to the overflow of a river which damaged houses and left many families without electricity for hours. Many homes were running on generators, and some families got hurt by the water in their places. And due to not having electricity, a man named Jose died from an explosion of a generator in the municipality of Arecibo. The victim’s wife also received burns on her hand and face while trying to help him. She was then transported to the hospital to treat any wounds or injuries. It’s highly speculated that this incident happened due to hurricane Fiona. Because the water made contact with the generator, this caused the man to die. 


Overall, LUMA Energy says it is prepared for hurricanes, the president and CEO of LUMA Energy, Wayne Stenby, established the ERP (Emergency Response Plan) which sets out the measures that LUMA takes in the event of an emergency. These plans help with direct response efforts, recovery/treatments, and urgent rescues. 


Yet due to all this, LUMA Energy had recently admitted that the emergency management plan is not entirely “implemented” and that there is no segmented budget. In addition, LUMA Energy said at that time that it didn’t know exactly which the faulty transmission lines were; Abner Gomez, carrier of LUMA energy, described that four faulty lines crossed from the south to the north of the island. 


The spokesman, Abner Gomez, also added that to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Fiona, not only line guards will be employed, but also a work team, so the number of line guards and specialists will fluctuate based on the needs of each town and the type of breakdown. The spokesman, however, did not give a specific number of employees, whether they are specialists or line guards, available to attend to the emergency. Also adding that guards are waiting to reach the island and that about 200 guards are waiting for the airports to reopen to initiate repairs to the power lines.


Thus, the company handles electricity transmission and bad weather, including 80 mph wind. The health centers were running generators which many have failed in some cases. Health secretary Carlos had been sent to repair generators, and many patients needed to be evacuated.


We are supporting and praying for the recovery of Puerto Rico. If you can, please reach out to any verified local organizations to send aid to those families affected. You can always look for charities in Holyoke, and in the local area if you are interested in assisting.