On September 18, a Category 1 hurricane ravaged Puerto Rico, causing catastrophic flooding, landslides and blackouts, the New York Times reported. Upon making landfall, Hurricane Fiona brought winds of over 100 mph and up to 30 inches of rain in some areas of the island. At least 10 rivers have flooded.
Per AP News, the rising waters have submerged cars, houses and an airport runway. The torrential rain and heavy flooding have washed away a recently constructed bridge in the town of Utuado and ripped asphalt from roads. Hundreds of residents have reportedly been evacuated, including patients at health care facilities where generators stopped working. Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi confirmed on Twitter that power was out across the entire island as of late on September 18.
The devastation of Hurricane Fiona arrived just days before the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria, the Category 4 hurricane that struck the island in 2017, wrecking its power grid system and killing nearly 3,000 people. The devastation from Hurricane Maria remains widespread; according to the AP, thousands of homes still use tarps as roofs, and power outages remain pervasive despite reconstruction efforts. In response to Hurricane Fiona’s compounding damage, President Joe Biden has approved Puerto Rico’s emergency declaration to channel federal resources into local disaster relief efforts.
Support the Puerto Rico Community Foundation
We know many SVCF donors and community partners want to help at this crucial time. Our sister community foundation, the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, has established a fund to support organizations that are providing emergency relief to those affected by Hurricane Fiona.
If you are a fundholder at SVCF and wish to give through your advised fund to the Puerto Rico Community Foundation, you may use our online donor portal to recommend a grant, or you may contact your philanthropy advisor or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Corporate partners of SVCF may also contact their relationship manager directly.