January 27, 2023

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Hurricane Fiona also hit the Dominican Republic. “Catastrophic” damage in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Fiona hit the Dominican Republic on Monday, after causing flooding and significant damage in Puerto Rico, where it left residents without electricity and continued to bring heavy rains.

“The damage to infrastructure and houses was catastrophic”said the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, in a press conference. “It’s a tough time, but our people are strong”the official added.

After crossing Puerto Rico, the eye of Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the coast of the Dominican Republic around 07:30 GMT, with sustained winds of 144 km/h, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Dominican authorities have not yet released an assessment of the damage caused by Fiona, but local media reported flooding in coastal cities in the east of the country, as well as damaged roads.

Red code of heavy rains in 13 Dominican provinces

According to the National Bureau of Meteorology (Onamet), the rains will continue to fall on the Dominican Republic “at least until thursday”.

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The Minister of the Environment of the Dominican Republic, Orlando Jorge Mera

Before the arrival of Hurricane Fiona in the Dominican Republic, a code red warning was issued for 13 of the island’s 32 provinces, from the north and east, informs AFP, quoted by Agerpres.

Heavy rains began to fall Sunday evening on Nagua, a coastal city of about 80,000 inhabitants, located in one of the regions targeted by the code red.

State of emergency in Puerto Rico

Earlier in Puerto Rico, the hurricane caused landslides, downed trees and power poles, made some roads impassable and led to the collapse of a bridge in the town of Utuado, in the mountainous region of the island’s center.

“Unfortunately, we are expecting more rain across the island today and tomorrow”the governor of Puerto Rico said on Monday, urging residents to stay in their homes or in shelters and not venture out into the street.

“In many areas that have never experienced flooding before, there was an unprecedented accumulation of water, more than we saw during Hurricane Maria.”explained Pierluisi.

Former Spanish colony, Puerto Rico, which became a US territory in the late 19th century before gaining special status as “free associated state” in the 1950s, it has been facing serious infrastructure problems for several years.

The island was devastated in 2017 by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which seriously damaged its electrical network. This was then privatized in June 2021 with the stated aim of solving the problem of power outages. However, the island suffered a general blackout in April 2022.

On Sunday, Fiona intensified from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale and made landfall at 3:20 p.m. local time (19:20 GMT) over the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico, near of Punta Tocon, with wind speeds of up to 140 km/h. US President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico.

The entire territory of Puerto Rico, which has more than three million inhabitants, was left without electricity as the hurricane approached. On Monday, power was restored to 100,000 households, according to the governor.

At the same time, approximately 196,000 households were deprived of drinking water.

Along with the warming of the ocean surface, the frequency of hurricanes also increases, more intense, accompanied by more violent winds and more abundant precipitation. They pose a growing risk, especially for communities in coastal regions.

Fiona wreaked havoc in Guadalupe

Fiona caused severe damage during its passage through Guadeloupe Friday night into Saturday.

In some places, the water rose by more than 1.5 meters.

A man lost his life after the house he was in was taken by the waters of a river that came out of the womb.

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