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The violent storm killed at least five people in the Caribbean, including one in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic. And many residents are now dealing with the aftermath of what became the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season.
“It was something incredible that we had never seen before,” Ramona Santana in Higüey, Dominican Republic, told CNN en Español.
“We’re on the street with nothing, no food, no shoes, no clothes, just what’s on our backs,” Santana said. “We have nothing. We have God, and help from hope will come.”
In Puerto Rico, where Fiona caused torrential rains and an island-wide blackout as she made landfall on Sunday, more than a million homes and businesses were still without power Wednesday. according to the government’s emergency portal system.
Additionally, more than 450,000 people across the island were without water service or experiencing intermittent service Wednesday evening, according to the website.
In the Dominican Republic, where Fiona made landfall early Monday morning, nearly 350,000 homes and businesses were plunged into darkness on Wednesday, according to Major General Juan Méndez García, director of the country’s emergency operations center. And there was no running water for more than a million customers, he said.
More than 600 homes were destroyed and some communities were cut off from aid due to the storm, García said.
As Fiona hit the Dominican Republic in the middle of the night on Monday, Iverice Viera said she was waist-deep in flood waters as she rushed to wake her neighbors in Higüey.
She is now trying to dry her things. “The rooms are empty, I had to throw away a lot of things, there is no electricity or water to wash anything,” Viera told CNN en Español.
Puerto Rico is making progress on the relief front: President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved a major disaster declaration for the US territory, FEMA said. The move allows residents to access grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams deployed a team of representatives from various city agencies to Puerto Rico to help officials assess the damage.
“The team will include representatives from New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Department of New York City’s design and construction,” according to a press release. of town hall.
Fiona on track to impact Bermuda
Packing sustained winds of 130 mph early Thursday, Fiona was located about 600 miles southwest of Bermuda and about 1,300 miles south-southwest of Nova Scotia, Canada, according to the CNN meteorologist, Robert Shackleford.
The center of the storm is expected to pass just west of Bermuda early Friday.
“The National Hurricane Center is certain that Bermuda will experience tropical storm-force winds. Once Fiona passes through Bermuda, the storm is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon,” Shackelford said.
Nova Scotia officials held a news conference on Wednesday to warn residents of the impact they could face this weekend.
Jason Mew, director of the office of emergency management, said residents should prepare by securing outdoor items, trimming trees, charging cell phones and creating an emergency kit.
Mew added that shelters will be open to house homeless people and anyone else who needs it.
Meanwhile, US officials have issued a travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel to Bermuda as Fiona approaches.
The State Department has also authorized family members of US government personnel to leave Bermuda due to the impending storm.
Bermuda is currently under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch, as hurricane-force winds could extend 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds could extend up to at 195 miles, Shackelford said.
The Turks and Caicos Islands are also experiencing power outages
After Hurricane Fiona hit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
Many parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands were still without power Wednesday, particularly in Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, according to Anya Williams, the islands’ acting governor.
Officials said they were relieved no one was killed in the storm as they began visiting several islands and carrying out repairs.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, crews faced setbacks to restore power to the island.
Many lines that would have been repaired have been temporarily disconnected due to various equipment problems, Josué Colón, executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, said Wednesday.
The repairs come almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria plunged the island into a prolonged blackout in 2017.
Across the island, more than 800 people were housed in dozens of shelters on Wednesday, according to Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodriguez.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Jessica Hasbun, Jorge Venegas, Amy Simonson, Chris Boyette and Jamiel Lynch contributed reporting.
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