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Hurricane Fiona hits the Dominican Republic, 'catastrophic' damage in Puerto Rico

2022-09-19T17:09:07.646Z

IN PICTURES – Before Fiona's arrival in the Dominican Republic, the island had placed 13 of its 32 provinces, in the North and East, on red alert.



Hurricane Fiona poured torrential rains on the Dominican Republic on Monday, September 19 after causing flooding and major damage in Puerto Rico, where it deprived the inhabitants of electricity and continues to cause heavy rainfall.

The damage to infrastructure (…) and homes was catastrophic

,” Puerto Rico Governor Pedro Pierluisi said at a press conference.

It's a tough time, but our people are strong.

»

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After crossing Puerto Rico, the eye of Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the coast of the Dominican Republic around 7:30 a.m. Paris time, with winds of 144 km / h, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

The Dominican authorities have not yet provided an assessment of the damage caused by Fiona but the local press reports flooding in the coastal towns of the east of the country as well as cut roads.

Destruction of a building caused by the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022. RICARDO ROJAS / REUTERS

According to the National Meteorological Office (Onamet), the rains will continue to fall on the Dominican Republic “

at least until Thursday

”.

Prior to Fiona's arrival in the Dominican Republic, the island had placed 13 of its 32 provinces, in the North and East, on red alert.

Heavy rains had begun Sunday evening to fall on Nagua, a coastal city of around 80,000 inhabitants located in one of the regions declared on red alert.

"More rain all over the island"

Previously in Puerto Rico, the hurricane caused landslides, downed trees and power lines, made roads impassable and led to the collapse of a bridge in the town of Utuado, in the mountainous region located in the center of the island.

"

Unfortunately, we are expecting more rain all over the island today and tomorrow

," Puerto Rico's governor said Monday, urging people to stay at home or in shelters and not venture into the streets.

"

In many areas, which had never had floods before, there was an accumulation of water without precedent

", "

more than what we saw during Hurricane Maria

", explained Mr. Pierluisi.

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A former Spanish colony, Puerto Rico, which became an American territory at the end of the 19th century before acquiring a special status of “

Associated Free State

” in the 1950s, has been experiencing serious infrastructure problems for several years.

The island was devastated in 2017 by hurricanes Irma and Maria, which seriously damaged its power grid.

This was then privatized in June 2021 with the stated aim of solving the problem of power cuts.

The island, however, experienced a blackout in April 2022.

Puerto Rico without electricity

On Sunday, Fiona had upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane, at the bottom of the Saffir-Simpson scale, and made landfall at 3:20 p.m. local (7:20 p.m. Paris time) on the southwest coast. from Puerto Rico near Punta Tocon, carrying winds of up to 140 km/h.

US President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency for Puerto Rico.

A person walks among debris on the seashore after Hurricane Fiona hit Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, September 19, 2022. RICARDO ROJAS / REUTERS

The entire territory of Puerto Rico, which has more than three million inhabitants, was without electricity as the hurricane approached.

On Monday, power had been restored to 100,000 people, according to the governor.

At the same time, some 196,000 people were deprived of drinking water.

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With the warming of the surface of the oceans, the frequency of the most intense hurricanes, with more violent winds and more important precipitations, increases.

In particular, they pose an increasing risk to coastal communities.

Fiona had already caused serious damage during her visit to Guadeloupe overnight from Friday to Saturday.

In places, the water had risen more than 1.5 meters.

A man had died there, carried away with his house by the waves of a flooded river.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2022-09-19

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