The violent storm has killed at least five people in the Caribbean, including one in Guadeloupe, two in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic. And many residents are suffering the effects of what was the first major hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season.
“It was something we’ve never seen before,” Ramona Santana told CNN en Español in Higüey, Dominican Republic.
“We’re on the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, no clothes, just what’s on your back,” Santana said. “We have nothing. We have God, and hope that help will come.”
Additionally, more than 450,000 people on the island were without water service or had intermittent service Wednesday night, according to the website.
In the Dominican Republic, where Fiona made landfall early Monday, nearly 350,000 homes and businesses were shrouded in darkness Wednesday, according to Juan Méndez García, director general of the country’s emergency operations center. And there was no running water for more than a million customers, he said.
More than 600 homes were destroyed and some communities were left without help due to the storm, García said.
When Fiona hit the Dominican Republic in the middle of the night on Monday, Iverice Viera said she was in waist-deep floodwaters as she tried to wake up residents of Higüey.
Now he is trying to dry his things. “The rooms are empty, I had to throw a lot, there is no light or water to wash anything,” Viera told CNN en Español.
Puerto Rico is making some progress on the relief front: President Joe Biden on Wednesday approved a major disaster declaration for the US territory, FEMA said. The move allows residents to access temporary housing and home repair grants, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams deployed a team of representatives from various city agencies to Puerto Rico to assist officials surveying the damage.
“The task force will include representatives from New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM), the New York City Department of Buildings, the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation and the New York City Department of Design and Construction,” according to a press release. from the mayor’s office
Fiona on track to make an impact in Bermuda next
Packing sustained winds of 130 mph early Thursday, Fiona was about 600 miles southwest of Bermuda and 1,300 miles south-southwest of Nova Scotia, Canada, according to CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
The center of the storm is expected to pass west of Bermuda early Friday morning.
“The National Hurricane Center is confident Bermuda will experience tropical storm-force winds. Once Fiona passes Bermuda, the storm is expected to impact Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon,” Shackelford said.
Nova Scotia officials held a news conference Wednesday to warn residents of the potential impact this weekend.
Jason Mew, director of the office of emergency management, said residents should prepare by securing outdoor items, trimming trees, charging cellphones and creating an emergency kit.
Mew added that the shelters will be open to the homeless and anyone else in need.
Meanwhile, US officials issued a travel advisory, warning Americans not to travel to Bermuda as Fiona approaches.
The State Department has also allowed family members of US government employees to leave Bermuda as a result of the storm.
Bermuda is currently under a tropical storm warning and hurricane watch because hurricane-force winds can extend 45 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds can extend up to 195 miles, Shackelford said.
Turks and Caicos are also experiencing power outages
After Hurricane Fiona battered Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, it also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday.
Many areas of Turks and Caicos were still without power Wednesday, specifically in Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, according to Acting Islands Governor Anya Williams.
Officials there said they were relieved no one was killed in the storm as they began visiting several islands and making repairs.
Meanwhile, in Puerto Rico, crews have faced setbacks in restoring power to the island.
Many lines that were thought to have been repaired were temporarily taken offline due to various equipment problems, Josué Colón, executive director of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, said Wednesday.
Across the island, more than 800 people were in dozens of shelters Wednesday, according to Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodriguez.
CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Jessica Hasbun, Jorge Venegas, Amy Simonson, Chris Boyette and Jamiel Lynch contributed to its reporting.