PHILADELPHIA - The storm's powerful winds have caused an island-wide blackout. Power restoration could take several days. And some areas will be hard to reach. This situation is a major concern, especially for those who rely on power. The US territory is facing one of its worst natural disasters.
More than one million people are without power in Puerto Rico. The power company LUMA Energy says the restoration process could take days. If the storm weakens, more emergency response teams will be dispatched to help. In the meantime, a lot of people are displaced.
The federal government has declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico. The island is still trying to recover from a series of strong earthquakes that hit the island in late 2019. Earlier this year, Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, leaving 3.3 million people without electricity for months. Although the federal government set aside billions to help the people recover, recovery has been slow.
Several landslides have been reported in Puerto Rico. The main airport and ports have been closed. There are also mudslides predicted in the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The island's weather service warns that the flooding could be life-threatening and "catastrophic."
Electricity has been restored in some areas of the island, but it will take days. Meanwhile, some areas remain without power, including hospitals. However, some facilities have been operating on generators. The government says it will take several days before power is restored throughout the island.
After Hurricane Maria devastated and destroyed the island's power grid, Hurricane Fiona hit the island again. Thousands of homes still have blue tarp roofs. The power grid is still weak, and outages are common. And it may take weeks or even months before the grid is completely repaired.
President Biden has declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico and authorized Federal assistance to help relief efforts. The National Hurricane Center says the storm will cause life-threatening flooding and mudslides. Some eastern and central Puerto Rico rivers have already flooded into residential areas. Biden has directed his team to rush Federal assistance to the island.