Hurricane Fiona: Many across Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic remain without power and running water as the storm churns toward Bermuda

Hurricane Fiona: Many across Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic remain without power and running water as the storm churns toward Bermuda

The forceful storm has killed at least five people across the Caribbean, including one in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic. And many residents are now enduring the aftermath of what became the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season.

“This was something incredible that we’ve never seen before,” Ramona Santana in Higüey, Dominican Republic, told CNN en Español.

“We’re in the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, clothes, just what’s on your back,” Santana said. “We don’t have anything. We have God, and the hope help will come.”

In Puerto Rico, where Fiona delivered flooding rains and an island-wide blackout as it made landfall Sunday, more than one 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 as of Wednesday night, according to the website.

In the Dominican Republic, where Fiona made landfall early Monday morning, nearly 350,000 homes and businesses were blanketed in darkness Wednesday, according to Maj. Gen. 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 Monday, Iverice Viera said she was in waist-deep floodwater as she rushed to wake up her neighbors in Higüey.

She is now trying to dry out her belongings. “The rooms are empty, I had to throw away a lot, there’s no electricity or water to wash anything,” Viera told CNN en Español.

Puerto Rico is making some progress on the relief front: President Joe Biden approved a major disaster declaration for the US territory Wednesday, 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.

“This ensures that our people will have access to additional help from FEMA to recover from the damage caused by this event,” Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said in a tweet.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams deployed a team of representatives from various city agencies to Puerto Rico to help officials surveying the damage.

“The team will include representatives from New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, and the New York City Department of Design and Construction,” according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

A man collects spring water from a mountain next to a highway in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Cayey, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday

Fiona on path to impact Bermuda next

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 CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford.

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 by Bermuda, the storm is forecast to impact Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon,” Shackelford said.

Officials in Nova Scotia held a news conference Wednesday to warn residents of the impact they may face this weekend.

Jason Mew, director of the emergency management office, 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 people experiencing homelessness and anyone else who needs them.

Meanwhile, US officials 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 a hurricane watch because hurricane-force winds could extend out 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend out up to 195 miles, Shackelford said.

Cars drive under a downed power pole in the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in Santa Isabel, Puerto Rico, on Wednesday.

Turks and Caicos also experiencing power outages

After Hurricane Fiona battered Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it also menaced parts of the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday.

Many areas on Turks and Caicos were still without power Wednesday, specifically on Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, according to Anya Williams, the acting governor of the islands.

Officials there said they were relieved no one was killed in the storm as they began visiting several islands and making repairs.

Ruinous Hurricane Fiona reaches Category 4 as it moves north, leaving disaster-stricken areas on slow road to recovery

Meanwhile in Puerto Rico, crews have faced setbacks in restoring power to the island.

Many lines believed to have been repaired were temporarily knocked back offline because of various equipment issues, Josué Colón, executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority said Wednesday.

The repairs are taking place almost exactly five years after Hurricane Maria plunged the island into an extended blackout in 2017.

Across the island, more than 800 people were housed in dozens of shelters Wednesday, according to Puerto Rico’s Housing Secretary, William Rodriguez.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Jessica Hasbun, Jorge Venegas, Amy Simonson, Chris Boyette and Jamiel Lynch contributed to his report.

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