HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Millions of people in Puerto Rico are still without power after Hurricane Fiona made landfall Sunday. As locals deal with the damage from the hurricane, groups in Connecticut are gearing up to send aid.
Torrential rain, 85 mph winds, and flooding pummeled the U.S. territory Sunday and the rain continued into Monday.
“I have family members in particular that all of the roads they used to leave their communities, their neighborhoods, they are completely blocked by trees that have fallen down, electrical lines that have fallen down,” Amilcar Hernandez said.
Hernandez is the treasurer for the Connecticut Institute for Community Development in Hartford. He said they are still assessing what kind of aid Puerto Rico needs but they are getting ready to send aid and basic supplies.
He worries about the long-term impacts of Hurricane Fiona as some families are still waiting on assistance from Hurricane Maria, a category 5 storm that devastated the island in 2017.
“For us in the state of Connecticut with our family members over there, it’s really scary cause we think of Maria and we knew how scary that was, without communication for weeks,” he said.
Connecticut-based Americares is also preparing to deliver medicine, and relief supplies and provide emergency funding to help repair damaged health centers in Puerto Rico.
“A lot of clinics and hospitals our team has been reaching out to are reporting they also do not have access to clean water and some of them are completely cut off because of the flood waters, the roads are completely impassible,” said Mariel Fonteyn, Americares’ director of U.S. Emergency Response.
Americares sent a team to Puerto Rico when Maria hit. This time around, they also plan to address the mental health needs of locals and first responders, as Fiona coincides with the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria.
“It’s one thing to be experiencing the trauma but to be experiencing it and hearing it from everybody else, and trying to provide support at the same time, really builds up quickly,” Fonteyn said.
Gov. Ned Lamont said the state is also prepared to provide emergency assistance and support in the aftermath of the storm.