Hurricane Fiona Updates

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Hurricane Fiona "At a Glance"

Sep. 14

Hurricane Fiona formed as a tropical storm.

Sep. 16

Becomes a hurricane.

Sep. 18

Landfall in southwestern coast of Puerto Rico as a category 1 hurricane.

  • Winds around 85 miles per hour (mph), heavy rainfall of 25 inches

  • Knocked out the power grid for more than two days

  •  More than 760,000 without water and power

Sep. 19

Landfall in Boca de Yuma, southeast of the Dominican Republic, as a category 1 storm.

  • Sustained winds of up to 150 mph, up to 12 inches of rain

  • First hurricane to directly hit the D.R. in 18 years

  • 12 provinces suffered the most in the north and east regions

Sep. 21

Passed the Turks and Caicos as a category 1 storm.

  • Sustained winds up to 130 mph

Sep. 23-24

Headed towards Atlantic Canada with diminishing intensity.

  • Made landfall in Nova Scotia, leaving 500,000 without power

  • Winds exceeded 62 mph, destroying at least 20 homes

Sep. 28

  • Dissipated west of Greenland.

Damages to Date

  • FEMA granted more than $525,000,000 in aid to victims in P.R.

  • Up to $700 million in insured damages in Atlantic Canada

  • Damages reached up to $2 billion in P.R. and additional $1 billion in the D.R.

One Month After Hurricane Fiona - Where Are We Now?

11/01/2022 8:00 PM EST

Puerto Rico: 

As most of the residents (93%-95%) gained access back to electricity and water, some continue to struggle to recover their homes and businesses. Those who got impacted the most by the storm were the local farmers. Puerto Rico’s Agriculture Department reported that $159 million worth of crops, like plantains, bananas, coffee, and other foods essential for the island’s food security, were destroyed after the hurricane. Although it was only a Category 1 storm, many underestimated the extent of flooding and landslides, describing the damages  as “historic.” Heavy rains and strong winds decimated more than 90% of crops across Puerto Rico, impacting the south of the island the most. 

 

What has been done and what are the future prospects?

  • As of October 24th, 2022, FEMA granted $525,121,851.81 in individual and household disaster programs. 

  • FEMA has provided more emergency aid to far more residents of Puerto Rico compared to Hurricane Maria five years ago. Direct policy changes and program enhancements allow Puerto Ricans to qualify for supplies, and emergency and/or housing aid much easier, making the distribution of disaster aid more equitable. All 3.3 million residents of the island are eligible to apply.

  • Since September 18th, FEMA has granted more than $456 million in disaster aid to more than 645,000 thousand individuals and households, and the number is only estimated to grow.

  • Over 1.1 million people have applied for aid after Fiona - a similar number that applied for emergency aid after Maria. However, FEMA approved only 42% of the applications for Maria, compared to 57% for Fiona

  • Most of the Puerto Ricans, for now, were only approved for “critical needs assistance,” which is around $754 (the lowest average payment for any disaster since 2002), compared to Maria which averaged about $2,812. FEMA said that the Fiona numbers are likely to increase after they inspect more homes for damages and continue reviewing the applications. As of October 19th, more than 63,000 survivors’ homes were already inspected after registering for federal disaster assistance. 

  • More than $3.6 million in low-interest emergency loans for homeowners and business owners have been approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration. 

More Than Two Weeks After Hurricane Fiona Hits the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico

10/04/2022 8:00 PM EST

Puerto Rico: 

Multiple sources revealed that:

  • As of 10/04 roughly 109,000 homes and businesses still have no power. 

  • As of 10/04, FEMA continues to support 900 rescuers working on the ground and estimates that around 92% of power and 95% of water had been restored.

  • President Biden traveled to Puerto Rico this Monday (10/03) to demonstrate that as he quotes: “All of America is with you as you recover and rebuild.” 

  • At least 13 people have died due to the hurricane, and 12 deaths are still under investigation. 

Dominican Republic: 

As of September 25th, 2020, the National Emergency Operations Center (COE) report revealed that:

  • 98% of those sheltered have returned to their homes.

  • 96.52% of the electrical services have been restored.

  • 65% of the affected citizens got their water services back. 944,716 people are supplied with drinking water and 84,000 gallons of drinking water have been distributed. 

  • 100% of telecommunications have been restored in the North and East regions of the island by CLARO, a private telecommunications company. 

  • 83 tons of debris have been removed. 

The Aftermath of Hurricane Fiona in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico 

09/30/2022 8:00 PM EST

Puerto Rico:

For the second time in the last five years, Puerto Rico has been severely hit by another destructive hurricane. Although Fiona was a Category 1 storm, the collapse of the power grid, flooding, landslide, damaged infrastructure, and millions without access to electricity, water and food were all detrimental impacts across the island. 

 

Multiple sources revealed that: 

  • Since the strike of the hurricane, the energy grid was not operating for two days, meaning that the majority of the civilians had no power for at least 48 hours. 


 

What has been done?

  • LUMA, Puerto Rico’s major power distributor, along with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA), announced that 99% of power in Critical Level 1 hospitals has been restored, and 81% of 1.5 million customers got their power back as of this Friday (9/30).

  • Since last week, out of 760,000 people, 358,000 still don't have access to water services.

  • $8 million in Emergency Relief funds was granted by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration dedicated to repairing the island’s infrastructure from flooding and landslide damages.

  • Over 1,450 workers are on the ground assisting with power restorations, search and rescue operations and other emergency management activities.

Dominican Republic:

Hurricane Fiona, the first hurricane to directly impact the Dominican Republic in eighteen years, struck the island as a Category 1 with strong winds up to 150 km/h and heavy rains, causing power outages, telecommunication malfunctions, damaged infrastructure, road blockages, and landslides. A total of 8 provinces situated on the east and northeast of the island suffered the direct impacts of the hurricane. Those provinces are La Altagracia, Monte Plata, La Romana, El Seibo, Hato Mayor, María Trinidad Sánchez, Duarte, and Samaná.  

 

As of September 20, 2022, the National Emergency Operations Center (COE) report revealed that:

  • 2,614 homes were impacted, and 457 were particularly damaged

  • 2 people are dead 

  • Over 12,485 people are displaced 

  • 406,539 people are left without power 

  • 166 electrical circuits have been damaged 

  • 1,174,639 were without access to water 

 

What already has been done as of 09/23?

On September 23rd, the country’s president, Luis Abiander, announced the following measures to address the hurricane's damages:  

  • The government commits to rebuilding 5,500 homes in the east and 2,800 homes in the northeast of the island. This rebuilding project targets homes that were damaged by the hurricane, as well as other homes that are prone to future disasters. 

  • Provision of technical assistance, where the national government, the local governments, municipalities, and the civil society work together to mitigate the impacts of the hurricane 

  • Almost 100 million Dominican pesos (1,865,671.60 $US) have been given to the local municipalities so that they can hire people to help restore the damages. These municipalities are working with an additional 500 impacted homes. 

  • The most impacted sector was the agricultural sector in the east. The government is providing restructural payments of existing loans with up to 7 years at 0% interest. 

  • The affected farmers and producers will also receive financing at 0% interest rate in order to recover their crops.

  • 90% of energy access has been restored in the northeast region.

  • Most of the provinces in the east have restored 70-90% of their energy access.

  • 400,000 out of 1,151,384 people have gained back access to drinking water.

Hurricane Fiona Updates

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Fallen power lines in Higuey, Dominican Republic on September 19, 2022. Source: CNBC