Will Puerto Rico be overshadowed by Ian?


Elijah Nouvelage for CNN

Devastation caused by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico

Hurricanes have been causing destruction left and right for many decades. There are a lot of well known hurricanes like Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Maria that are famous because of the damage that was left in their wake. Tropical countries like Puerto Rico and even states like Florida and Texas are extremely prone to deadly hurricanes.

Recently, the first major Category 3+ storm of the Atlantic hurricane season named Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico. Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico on September 18 2022. As of now, at least 2 people have died and approximately 12,500 people have been displaced meaning that they can not return to their homes due to the extensive damage to their homes. According to npr.org, some areas got over 30 inches of rain! It was so serious that a public health emergency was declared due to the impact of the flooding.

On September 20, 2017 Puerto Rico was hit with deadly hurricane Maria, a near category 5 hurricane, causing 3059 fatalities. Hurricane Maria wiped out a lot of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure including its power grid. Some people didn’t get their power back for months. Hurricane Fiona has just made these issues worse. PowerOutage.us, which tracks service and electrical disruptions, says about 928,000 households are in the dark as of roughly five days after Fiona hit. Fiona has also affected citizens’ ability to get water. 5 days after Fiona hit, government data showed that more than 27% of customers (over 350,000 people) were still without water service. The devastating effects of Fiona, could be a huge hit to Puerto Rico’s economy. Puerto Rico has not fully recovered from Hurricane Maria, and Fiona will put the country in an even worse economic situation.

The U.S government is providing assistance and even organizations like the American Red Cross are providing help. On their website, they have pictures of them distributing water and emergency supplies to residents in need.

On September 29th, Hurricane Ian, a category 4 storm, landed in Florida. This is extremely worrisome to the residents of Puerto Rico, who feel that Ian will shift the focus away from the necessary funds they need to rebuild after Fiona. Florida is an actual state while Puerto Rico is not, which makes residents of Puerto Rico feel like they will be put on the back burner when they are in need the most. The White House has stated that is not the case on Wednesday when they said that it “remains focused on response and recovery efforts” in Puerto Rico. In a fact sheet, it said 1,000 federal workers are on the ground to support power restoration, debris removal, urban search and rescue and other response activities. As of now, we can only wait and see the damage after Hurricane Ian has dissipated.

As a community, we can do things to help support Puerto Rico, Florida, and all places that have been affected by deadly natural disasters such as hurricanes. We can donate money, clothes and supplies. We can also volunteer at places to help those in need and stay informed on what’s happening. We can study climate change and take steps to prevent these devastating storms. We can also help the rehabilitation of the citizens and the community.