Mon. Sep 26th, 2022

By Esther Alaejos |

Ponce (Puerto Rico) (EFE).- Rice and beans are some of the staples of the Puerto Rican diet that after a few days are being distributed among the poorest and “forgotten” communities in the southern municipality of Ponce. Hurricane Fiona has rocked the country Their fragile wooden houses.

Neighborhoods such as El Sol and Punta Diamante were isolated in the first days due to flooding caused by the hurricane, which heavily affected the south of the island and especially Ponce, leading the National Guard to mobilize to provide aid.

“I’m surprised because we’re a forgotten community, like we don’t exist, and when these people come to help us, it gives me a feeling, that people see that people live here,” said Viviana Ruiz, mother of three and L. A resident of the Soul community.

About twelve families in this Ponce community, which had been without power for years, lost their zinc roofs as a result of Hurricane Fiona.

This photo from Wednesday shows a swollen river due to the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico.  EFE/Thais Lorca
Photograph showing a swollen river caused by the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Ponce, Puerto Rico. EFE/Thais Lorca

Ruiz recalled that “the house shook.” “Here we were all crying because nothing like this happened in the wooden house,” added the 40-year-old woman, who demanded the authorities provide electricity and water to get “a better standard of living”.

Another Ponceno from the El Sol community, Luis Antonio Sanchez, 55, who lives with his father, said he was “very nervous” when Fiona passed.

“I could see the zinc flying and it was very alarming,” Sanchez insisted, referring to the roofs of houses in his neighborhood, little prepared for the hurricane.

Communities maintain contact for three days

The Inabone River, which flows past the royal city of Ponce, has overflowed its course due to heavy rains, leaving several isolated areas.

“About three days of isolation with this sector and the rural part, where it already rained before Hurricane Fiona,” Ponce Mayor Luis M. Irizarry lamented.

Mercedita de Ponce airport was closed for three days due to flooding, which did not reopen until yesterday, two days later than the rest of the island’s aerodromes.

“After 72 hours of hard and intense work, the Mercedita de Ponce Airport has opened its runway to the arrival and departure of commercial flights,” declared Joel A. Pizza Batiz, Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Port Authority (APPR).

According to Pizza, “This is significant because the runway is available to receive any cargo flights or humanitarian assistance in response to the emergency caused by Hurricane Fiona in the southern part of Puerto Rico.”

Maria Nieves Rodriguez and Lionel Torres look out the door of their home after receiving supplies from the National Guard in the Punta Diamante neighborhood of Ponce, Puerto Rico. EFE/Thais Lorca

About 6,000 boxes of food and water were distributed to the communities of El Sol, Punta Diamante, Belgica and San Antón by 600 soldiers of the Puerto Rico National Guard, in cooperation with the Department of Families and the municipal administration, helping to alleviate 200 families. Fiona’s devastation.

“There’s a couple of boxes for a family of four with a balanced Puerto Rican-type diet, they have rice, they have beans for a week,” explained Gen. Jose J. Reyes, adjutant general of the National Guard’s Puerto Rico division. Efe.

This House “Can’t Take It Another Hurricane”

In the communities of El Sol and Punta Diamante it can be seen that the passage of Fiona had a great effect, the wood with which the houses were built was stretched by the water that had fallen in earlier days, and the streets were poles. falling light

Jose Rodriguez, a 45-year-old contractor who lives in Punta Diamante, did not hide his frustration at the situation, which forced him to recount the changes experienced with previous hurricanes like Jorge or Maria.

Puerto Rico has been affected by several hurricanes in its recent history. In 1998, a Category 3 hit Georges Island and in 2017, Devastating Hurricane MariaWhich reached Category 5, causing nearly 3,000 deaths.

A woman observes a house destroyed by the passage of Hurricane Fiona in the Punta Diamante neighborhood of Ponce this Wednesday EFE/Thais Lorca
EFE/Thais Lorcar A woman looks at a house destroyed by Hurricane Fiona in the Punta Diamante neighborhood of Ponce.

“This house can’t take it anymore, it took George, it took Maria, now with Fiona, I don’t think another hurricane can take it, I’m not going to spend it here, when they say another one I’m already out of this house. Came out» , Saja Rodriguez, who lives with his wife, in laughter.

The man said that with Fiona, which had maximum sustained winds of 140 kilometers (85 mph), his house shook and he was “scared.”

In addition to Ponce, the National Guard is providing supplies to the municipalities of Ceiba, Vega Baja, Toa Baja, Utuado, Arroyo, Maunabo and Comerio, as they were hit hardest by the hurricane.

Web Editing: Juan David Mosos

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