Correspondent in tears over Fiona damage 3:34
(WABNEWS) — The Governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi, will brief the President of the United States on Thursday afternoon about the situation on the island after the passage of Hurricane Fiona, an administration official told WABNEWS.
Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Deanne Criswell will brief the president in person at FEMA’s Region 2 Office at One World Trade in New York City, the official said, and New York Governor York, Kathy Hochul, will also be present at the briefing. Biden has been in town this week for the United Nations General Assembly and other events.RELATED
The meeting comes as Fiona, the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season, currently a Category 4, continues to move north toward Bermuda. It is expected to reach Canada.
The Hurricane Watch for Bermuda is now a Hurricane Warning. And Canadian meteorologists forecast Fiona to be Canada’s strongest storm, warning it could be Canada’s version of Hurricane Sandy, which hit the northeastern coast of the United States in 2012.
The storm has killed at least five people across the Caribbean: one in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic.
Hurricane Fiona comes almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, a storm that caused an extensive power outage across the island and lasting damage to infrastructure.
The latest data of the island’s emergency portal system show that, as of Thursday morning, more than a million customers in Puerto Rico were still without power and a third of the island does not have water service or it is intermittent.
This Wednesday, the Secretary of Housing of Puerto Rico, William Rodríguez, said in a video that more than 800 people are currently in shelters, with some 40 shelters spread throughout the island.
The president on Wednesday approved a major disaster declaration for the island, directing federal aid for local recovery efforts in areas affected by Hurricane Fiona.
The measure 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 also sent personnel from municipal agencies to Puerto Rico to help officials assess the damage.
Pierluisi and Criswell surveyed storm damage on an aerial tour of Puerto Rico on Wednesday. The governor had said before Wednesday’s tour that he hoped to speak with the president this week.
Forecast models also show that a developing storm system called Hermine could pose a threat to the Gulf Coast by next week.
— Melissa Alonso and Aya Elamroussi contributed to this report.