The President of the United States, Joe Biden, approved this Sunday the declaration of a state of emergency in Puerto Rico due to the arrival of Hurricane Fiona. With maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers per hour (80 miles), the tropical storm has gained strength and is already a hurricane as it approaches the island, where it threatens heavy rain, flooding and a mudslide.
Puerto Rico electric company says it is “prepared” for the hurricane seasonRELATED
With this decision, the president has ordered the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to carry out the necessary efforts to “save lives, protect property, public health and safety; and avoid a catastrophe in the 78 municipalities” of Puerto Rico. The US federal government will finance 75% of the emergency measures, as reported the White House in a statement.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) has reported that it is a category 1 hurricane, out of a total of 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Fiona is located 80 kilometers south of Ponce (Puerto Rico) and is moving northwest at 13 kilometers per hour.
The hurricane presents “very dangerous winds” that are expected to affect Puerto Rico first and then the Dominican Republic. These winds, he notes, are a risk for falling trees and branches that can also cause extensive damage to power lines and poles causing blackouts that could last “a few to several days.”
The NHC has removed the hurricane watch for the US Virgin Islands. After passing through Puerto Rico, Fiona is forecast to move near the north coast of the Dominican Republic on Sunday night and Monday, and near or east of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday.
This Saturday, the Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, announced that he had requested the declaration of a federal state of emergency hours after declaring the emergency at the state level.
Likewise, Pierluisi reported that there are already 79 open shelters (of the 365 enabled) with 101 people sheltered in 26 municipalities, with Guayanilla and Cabo Rojo being the ones that are hosting the most displaced people.
More than 665,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico, 45% of the total, have already suffered this Sunday the interruption of the electrical service due to the imminent arrival of the hurricane.
So far this hurricane season (June 1-November 30), seven named storms have formed in the Atlantic basin, of which two, Danielle and Earl, have reached hurricane status.