Puerto Rico's recovery from Fiona will take time: live updates

Published September 22, 2022 at 11:59 AM EDT
People play pool in a bar on Tuesday in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, days after Hurricane Fiona struck the island. Homes and businesses are relying on generators for power.
Jose Jimenez
Getty Images
People play pool in a bar on Tuesday in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, days after Hurricane Fiona struck the island. Homes and businesses are relying on generators for power.

Much of the island remains in the dark after Hurricane Fiona struck the territory over the weekend. The storm made it clear how vulnerable Puerto Rico's power system remains five years after Hurricane Maria.


The federal government will be with Puerto Rico until it recovers, Biden pledges

Posted September 22, 2022 at 3:06 PM EDT

President Biden promises that his administration will make sure "the people of Puerto Rico have everything, everything they could possibly need that we could provide to help them get through this."

Watch his comments:


FEMA lists local resources available for Puerto Rico

Posted September 22, 2022 at 2:35 PM EDT

FEMA has listed several local resources available for those affected by Hurricane Fiona in Puerto Rico, including the portal system for Puerto Rico's emergency services.

Member Station Reports
the forecast

What might be next for the region this hurricane season

Posted September 22, 2022 at 2:15 PM EDT

As WUSF's Carl Lisciandrello reports, forecasters are monitoring a tropical wave that could become the next named system.

For more on how meteorologists monitor the development of these storm systems and what to watch for in the days ahead, keep reading on WUSF.

Member Station Reports

The Puerto Rican diaspora is leveraging the lessons learned from Hurricane Maria to help

Posted September 22, 2022 at 1:50 PM EDT
A muddy river rushes past a flooded road and structures in Utuado, Puerto Rico.
AFP via Getty Images
This aerial picture taken on Sept. 20 in Utuado, Puerto Rico, shows the damage done after Hurricane Fiona hit the island.

After Hurricane Maria devastated the island, "South Florida's Puerto Rican diaspora won kudos ... for commandeering aid delivery to the storm-ravaged island on private charter flights and shipping containers," WLRN's Tim Padgett reports. "Their assistance often reached some of Puerto Rico's worst hit communities before help arrived from the U.S. and Puerto Rican government-led efforts."

Even with that success, community leaders like Debbie Sosa of Miami say they've learned important lessons from 2017 that should inform how they provide support now.

Keep reading at WLRN.org

Updates from around the country:

Springfield, Massachusetts, has opened a welcome center for Puerto Ricans arriving after Hurricane Fiona [en español] from New England Public Media
Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal calls for 'All-hands-on-deck response' to powerless Puerto Rico from Connecticut Public
Puerto Rican New Yorkers say they were able to reach families quicker after Fiona than in the aftermath of Maria from WNYC/Gothamist.com
A Team of Maryland firefighters arrived in Puerto Rico to help with the Fiona response from WAMU/DCist
The Chicago area’s Puerto Rican community is rallying after Hurricane Fiona struck their friends and family back home from WBEZ's Reset with Sasha-Ann Simons podcast

Just In

Some parts of Puerto Rico remain cut off from help

Posted September 22, 2022 at 1:09 PM EDT

Puerto Rico's officials are under pressure to clear a path so vehicles carrying aid can reach isolated parts of the nation, the AP reports.

An emergency official estimates at least six municipalities had areas that remain cut off from the rest of the island.

As of Thursday morning, Hurricane Fiona is headed to Bermuda as a Category 4 storm.


Puerto Rico is in the dark again, but solar companies see glimmers of hope

Posted September 22, 2022 at 1:04 PM EDT
Most of Puerto Rico was still without power in the days after Hurricane Fiona made landfall over the weekend.
Jose Jimenez
Getty Images
Most of Puerto Rico was still without power in the days after Hurricane Fiona made landfall over the weekend.

Hurricane Fiona has left thousands of customers without power — and it wasn't the first time the island was plunged into darkness after a massive storm.

Despite billions of dollars in federal aid, "very little" was done in the five years after Hurricane Maria to rebuild the island's electric grid, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the floor of the Senate.

And climate change is making hurricanes wetter and more powerful.

Yet some see signs of hope. That includes Chris Rauscher, senior director of public policy at the biggest residential solar company in the U.S.

He told NPR around 50,000 solar and battery power systems have been installed at homes in Puerto Rico, and industry observers note almost all of that equipment appears to have continued supplying electricity.

"It's showing that renewables paired with storage ... are really the fundamental building blocks of a clean recovery that we need to really focus on on the island and elsewhere," he says.


How to help people in Puerto Rico recover from Hurricane Fiona

Posted September 22, 2022 at 12:04 PM EDT

Hurricane Fiona slammed into southwestern Puerto Rico on Sunday, wiping out the power grid and cutting off clean water to most of the island's residents.

President Biden declared an emergency in Puerto Rico, calling on both the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate disaster relief efforts for residents.

Here is a non-exhaustive, growing list of organizations that are asking for assistance. Donations can be made through the links to their websites or social media pages.