Suffolk County

Hurricane Fiona ravages Puerto Rico, leaving Boston area families worried

BOSTON — Hurricane Fiona may have passed by Puerto Rico but Javier Rodriguez says he can’t reach his sister who lives there by phone and he’s worried.

“Not yet, I tried to talk with my sister a few minutes ago but I don’t know,” said Rodriguez. He is from Puerto Rico but now lives in Villa Victoria neighborhood in Boston’s South End.

Hurricane Fiona slammed into the island knocking out power and causing flooding and damage that the island’s governor described as “catastrophic.”

“I’m concerned because Puerto Rico right now is bad — right now,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has been trying to call all day but has had no luck. And he’s not alone.

“No contact — nothing, nothing, nothing,” said Carmen Fuentes, who is also from Puerto Rico. She too is worried, especially after watching news reports on TV.

“I was terrified. I was getting on the internet,” she said.

Heavy rains filled rivers flooding homes, cars and even wiping away a temporary bridge still in place five years after Hurricane Maria hit.

“It’s very concerning because there’s a lot of water a lot of flooding going on down there,” said Fuentes.

Fiona hit into Puerto Rico almost five years to the day that Hurricane Maria devastated the island. That storm killed close to 3,000 people and wiped out the island’s power grid — infrastructure that was never fully repaired.

“There are still people that need help like the elderly, mostly the elderly, they are homeless and live in little shacks because of Maria,” said Fuentes.

Despite Fiona’s devastation, Rodriguez says he believes his sister will be okay. That’s because even after Maria, he says Puerto Ricans never gave up.

“But the good part from Puerto Rico is get down and stand up quick. I know my people from Puerto Rico,” said Rodrigues.

Rodrigues says that resilience will see them through. Millions lost power — it is slowly being restored but it will take days.

President Biden has declared a state of emergency in the U.S territory.

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