Dealing with catastrophic flooding, mudslides and widespread power outages, some people in Puerto Rico are comparing the aftermath of Hurricane Fiona to Hurricane Maria — the devastating storm that hit the island almost exactly five years ago.
Juan Miguel Gonzalez, a business owner in southern Puerto Rico, told CNN correspondent Leyla Santiago that he thinks Hurricane Fiona has been worse than Maria. He said a lot of people have lost everything in the flooding.
“Maria was tough winds, but this one with all the rain, destroyed everything on the houses — it’s unbelievable,” he said.
As search and rescue efforts continue on Monday, Gonzalez told Santiago that it’s a small town and residents there feel like they need to take care of themselves.
“Who’s going to take care of this town? Nobody, you know what I’m saying? If we don’t take care of it, nobody’s going to take care of it,” he said.
The National Guard was called in to rescue hundreds of people overnight, Santiago reported, but there are still places in Puerto Rico that are too dangerous for rescue crews to get to as rain continues to fall on Monday.
Some background: Hurricane Maria afflicted catastrophic damage to the territory’s infrastructure. It took almost a year for power to be restored across the island.
Right now, after Fiona, more than 1 million people are still without power, as of Monday morning. Additionally, about 66% of customers don’t have water, Santiago reported.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the response to Maria was the largest and longest to a domestic disaster in US history. Massive flooding damaged more than half a million homes. Many families are still rebuilding.