Hurricane Fiona Leaves Puerto Rico in Ruins


Ramon Gonzalez and

Puerto Rico was struck by Hurricane Fiona’s 100 mph winds on Sunday, September 18, 2022, at 3:20 p.m. EDT. At that time, the hurricane was only a category 1 storm; after several days, it has now been deemed a category 4 storm. After being struck by 100mph winds and over 2 feet of rain, the island is currently in ruins. More than a week after Hurricane Fiona struck Puerto Rico, many locals still have no power and running water. Most are currently homeless due to the damages sustained by the storm.

Many of the island’s roads are flooded, bridges destroyed, and pipes broken due to flash flooding. Currently, 78% of people are out of power, and over 30% are without water. This is especially dangerous since the island is also going through a heat wave.

The island’s power transmission and distribution services are owned by a private Canadian-American company, LUMA Energy; the company was contracted on January 17, 2020, but only took over in June of 2021. This company has endured immense backlash from Puerto Ricans over the past years due to their lack of communication, rise in electricity costs, and shortfall of improvement.

Since June of last year, there have been many protests about the company’s work and progress. Many Puerto Ricans have had to suffer through a multitude of blackouts and power outages throughout the years due to the company’s lack of planning, preparation, and investment. They are tired of the service they had to deal with and have been speaking up about it.

Many mayors are helping their communities in these difficult times, including Utuado, Mayor, Jorge Pérez Heredia, who on Thursday, wrote a letter to LUMA Energy asking them to connect the town to a power plant that was energized nearby. The Next day LUMA did exactly that. Another instance was when Bayamón, Mayor, Ramón Luis Rivera Cruz hired a team to help fix and repair light posts and cables so that LUMA could focus on getting the power up.

The effects of Puerto Rico’s encounter with Hurricane Maria and Irma in 2017 are still relevant since the U.S government still has not paid the island the 65.7 billion dollars in aid from Hurricane Maria. They have currently only paid 19.3 billion dollars, which was not enough money since most of it was used on temporary fixes and haphazard repairs.

That money was not enough to pay for the 100 billion dollars in damages that hurricane Maria had caused. It also killed over 3,000 people and severely damaged the power grid. Not only did it cause physical damage but it caused, economic damage since many were left homeless and jobless.

With Puerto Rico still sustaining many of the injuries that the last two hurricanes have caused, it is not in the proper place, economically and structurally, to suffer the destruction caused by another hurricane. This hurricane is going to cause a plethora of problems for Puerto Ricans and the island’s economy, structure, and society in the very near future.