NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — Hurricane Fiona blasted the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday as a Category 3 storm after devastating Puerto Rico, where most people remained without electricity or running water and rescuers used heavy equipment to lift survivors to safety.
Many people in Norwich are keeping an eye on what has happened in Puerto Rico and the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Fiona — five years after Hurricane Maria devastated the island. Not only are they concerned about loved ones, but they are also trying to think of ways they can help.
Dylan Javier Barcena of Norwich watched as Fiona threatened his family in Puerto Rico.
“My mom’s side of the family lives in the part where most of the devastation happened,” Barcena said. “They saw the flooding. They saw basically roofs flying off people’s houses.”
Fortunately, Barcena’s family is safe as some noted on their Facebook pages, but they are without power and water and don’t know when they’ll get either of them back. He met News 8 in front of one of Norwich’s newest murals painted by renowned Puerto Rican artist Carlito Skills.
The 50 ft. by 35 ft. mural is called “Metamorphosis” and is viewed as an inspiration to many young people in the Puerto Rican community and the community as a whole.
“The reason behind this art right here is to basically inspire young Puerto Rican boys and girls,” Barcena said.
He’s now inspired to try to help the people of Puerto Rico who were celebrated during this year’s Puerto Rican Festival in Norwich, which was called the Boriken Festival of Norwich.
“The money we made from the Puerto Rican Festival, we could definitely donate that to the people in Puerto Rico because I feel they definitely need it the most at this moment,” Barcena said.
Lawmakers across Connecticut say they are ready to help those in Puerto Rico.
“We’re ready to open our doors for anyone who needs to come here,” Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (D-Conn.) said.
“Our school system, as always, stands ready to welcome kids if they are coming to our community,” Mayor Luke Bronin (D-Conn) said.
Members of Congress also echoed the calls to action.
“We need that $15 billion provided to Puerto Rico now,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. “We need rebuilding of schools and hospitals now. We need rebuilding of the grid.”
U.S. President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico as the eye of the storm approached the island’s southwest corner.