Puerto Ricans living in Reno react to the impact of Hurricane Fiona

RENO, Nev. (KOLO) – Nine days after Hurricane Fiona, hundreds of thousands of people in Puerto Rico continue to struggle.

Five years ago, Maria killed thousands and caused the longest blackout in US history. Now the island – which is still recovering from that – faces the aftermath of Fiona.

On Tuesday, when most eyes were on Hurricane Ian, more than 370,000 customers on the island were without power, according to poweroutage.us.

Puerto Ricans living in Reno, many of whom still have family on the island, are watching the impact he left closely.

Ricardo Rivera is one of the lucky ones, his parents and his sister are still in Puerto Rico and despite the power cuts and the floods, he was able to communicate.

“He didn’t damage the phone lines,” Rivera said in Spanish.

He said his sister, who lives in Ponce, was without power for about five days.

However, following Maria, those who can afford it rely on solar panels and generators.

“That (generator) wasn’t super strong. They would turn it on for certain things, like turning on a fan at night, Rivera said.

Apart from the lack of electricity, others, like Henedina Tollerstad’s family, also suffer from a lack of water.

“There is a street that has electricity and water, the next street, the next block, no electricity and water, then when they have water and electricity, the other is without electricity or water,” she said.

Both Rivera and Tollerstad are hurting for their homeland and say the unreliability of the power grid is due to mismanagement and underinvestment.

“People are desperate,” Tollerstad said. “It’s been five years since Maria and they’re still working on it.”

“It’s sad because after every hurricane there’s a wave of people leaving Puerto Rico,” Rivera said. “Doctors, nurses, professionals.”

If you would like to help families during recovery, here is a list of organizations looking for help:

Greater Salud, the women-led non-profit organization is accepting donations of items such as non-perishable food, adult and baby diapers, gallons of water, toiletries, and more. The nonprofit also accepts monetary donations through PayPal or on its website.

Global donationssupports and connects other nonprofits with donors, launched the “Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund” – aiming to raise $1 million to help island residents and other communities across the Caribbean.

According to their website, the funds raised will help meet immediate needs for food, shelter, fuel, drinking water and hygiene products.

The Fondita de Jesus, many homeless people in Puerto Rico depend on this organization for food, hygiene services and placement, and their need will certainly be greater in Fiona’s wake. You can donate here.

World Central Cuisine, according to its website, WCK is the first on the front lines, providing meals in response to humanitarian, climate and community crises. We build resilient food systems with local solutions. To donate, go to: https://wck.org/

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