Puerto Rico Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said Monday that New York Gov. will send 100 first responders to help with recovery efforts after Hurricane Fiona, as soon as weather permits travel; The governors of New Jersey and California have also pledged assistance.
Pierluisi said FEMA has 400 officials on the island currently dedicated to Fiona rescues. The governor said he plans to request a disaster declaration from President Joe Biden. “We’re not there yet, and we’re still in recovery mode,” he said. The president approved a declaration of emergency for the storm on Sunday.
Fiona brought rain across Puerto Rico and caused flooding that was more extensive than Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rican officials said at a briefing Monday that some areas of the island saw much more rain than in 2017 with Hurricane Maria.
General Jose J. Reyes, the Puerto Rican National Guard, said emergency teams have saved a thousand people.
A woman who had been hanging from a tree for seven hours was rescued as she tried to cross floodwaters. Authorities said three other people in the same area were rescued shortly afterwards because they also tried to cross the rising waters.
The general said the rescue operations were extensive and urged everyone to heed the warnings of officials.
Reyes said several rescues were conducted during the night and in the morning in Salinas after the river overflowed its banks.
“We hope that people who are still in dangerous areas will seek asylum,” Reyes said.
The governor said there were 2,146 people and 254 pets at 113 shelters as of Monday. Pierluisi said authorities have detained up to 2,300 people in shelters in the past.
“What we don’t want is loss of life,” the governor emphasized.
According to Pierluisi, 75% of cellular infrastructure is operating after the worst period of a storm, the governor said. He attributed the communications performance to generator upgrades after Hurricane Maria.
Most of the island is still without electricity.
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