A hurricane rages in the poor communities of Puerto Rico.

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

Esther Alaejos |

Ponce (Puerto Rico) (EFE).- Rice and beans are among the typical staples of the Puerto Rican diet, which are distributed to the poorest and “forgotten” communities of the southern municipality of Ponce a few days after Hurricane Fiona shook the foundations their fragile wooden houses.

Areas such as El Sol and Punta Diamante were isolated in the early days due to flooding caused by the hurricane, which heavily affected the south of the island and Ponce in particular, forcing the National Guard to mobilize forces to provide relief.

“I’m surprised because we are a forgotten community, as if we didn’t exist, and when these people come to our rescue, I even get the feeling that people see that people live here.” — Viviana Ruiz, mother of three . and a resident of the community of El Sol.

About twelve families in this Ponce community, which had been without electricity for years, lost their zinc roofs as a result of Hurricane Fiona.

Photo showing a swollen river due to the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico. EFE/Tais Lorca

Ruiz recalled that “the house was shaking.” “Here we all cried, because this has never happened in a wooden house,” added the 40-year-old woman, who demanded that the authorities install electricity and water in order to have a “better quality of life.”

Another Ponseño from the El Sol community, Luis Antonio Sanchez, 55, who lives with his father, said he was “very nervous” during Fiona’s transition.

“I saw zinc flying, and it bothered me a lot,” Sanchez said, referring to the unreliable roofs of houses in his area, poorly prepared for a hurricane.

Communities were kept incommunicado for three days

The Inabon River, which flows through the majestic city of Ponce, overflowed its banks due to heavy rains, leaving several isolated areas.

“Nearly three days of isolation in these sectors and the countryside, where it already rained before Hurricane Fiona,” lamented Luis M. Irisarri, Mayor of Ponce.

The flooding also resulted in the closure of Mercedita de Ponce Airport for three days, which only opened yesterday, two days later than the rest of the island’s airfields.

“After 72 hours of hard and intense work, Mercedita de Ponce Airport is reopening its runway for inbound and outbound commercial flights,” said Puerto Rico Ports Authority (APPR) Executive Director Joel A. Pisa Batiz.

This is important because, according to Pisa, the airstrip is available to “receive any cargo flight or humanitarian aid for Hurricane Fiona emergency relief in the southern region of Puerto Rico.”

Maria Nieves Rodriguez and Leonel Torres watch from their door after receiving supplies from the National Guard in the Punta Diamante area of ​​Ponce, Puerto Rico. EFE/Tais Lorca

Approximately 6,000 boxes of food and water were distributed in the communities of El Sol, Punta Diamante, Belgica and San Anton by 600 soldiers of the Puerto Rico National Guard, in collaboration with the Department of Family Affairs and Municipal Administration, helping 200 families mitigate the impact of the devastation of Fiona .

“There are several boxes for a family of four with a balanced Puerto Rican diet, their rice, their beans for a week,” explained Adjutant General of the Puerto Rico National Guard, Division General José J. Reyes. Efe.

This house “can’t stand another hurricane”

In the communities of El Sol and Punta Diamante, it can be seen that the passage of Fiona had a great impact, the wood from which the houses are built was expanded by the water that had fallen in the previous days, and there were poles in the streets. fallen light.

José Rodriguez, a 45-year-old contractor based in Punta Diamanta, made no secret of his frustration at the situation, which forced him to relive the vicissitudes of previous hurricanes such as George or Maria.

Puerto Rico has been hit by several hurricanes in its recent history. In 1998, category 3 Georges entered the island, and in 2017 devastating hurricane mariawhich reached category 5 caused about 3,000 deaths.

A woman looks at a house destroyed by Hurricane Fiona in the Punta Diamante area of ​​Ponce, EFE/Tais Llorca.

“This house won’t take no more, it put up with George, it put up with Maria, now Fiona, I think another hurricane won’t take, I’m not going to waste it here when they say another one is coming, I’m already out of this house ‘, between laughter sentenced Rodriguez, who lives with his wife.

The man said that with Fiona having a maximum sustained wind speed of 140 kilometers per hour (85 miles), his house was shaking and he was “frightened”.

In addition to Ponce, the National Guard is delivering supplies to the municipalities of Ceiba, Vega Baja, Toa Baja, Utuado, Arroyo, Maunabo, and Comerio, as they were hardest hit by the storm.

Web Editing: Juan David Mosos

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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