San Juan struggles with sluggish communication after Archbishop Fiona

A member of the Puerto Rico Nationwide Guard appears via the water to rescue individuals from flooded streets following Hurricane Fiona on September 19, 2022 in Salinas, Puerto Rico. (Photograph: Catholic Information Service)

by Tom Tracy

The Archbishop of Puerto Rico stated he was not involved with all of his monks as Hurricane Fiona knocked the island out of energy, and expressed concern for the storm’s results on the island’s southern and western elements.

Archbishop Roberto González Nieves additionally stated he anticipated Catholic faculties within the worst-affected areas to stay closed for weeks, and expressed concern in regards to the trauma the youngsters had been dealing with.

“I can’t make zoom calls at present and there are only a few cellphone calls normally as a result of the alerts will not be working – however yesterday I had a zoom with 35 pastors; Many individuals could not join with us as a result of they do not have electrical energy or web or water,” Archbishop Gonzalez instructed the Catholic Information Service over the cellphone on September 21 after a number of unsuccessful makes an attempt to contact him.

“The storm sat on the island for nearly a day with heavy winds and rain, however cities to the south and west had been destroyed – the Ponce and Mayagüez areas actually bore the brunt of the storm,” he stated.

“When it comes to the overall San Juan space, my understanding is that the harm is minimal, however in some circumstances it was tougher than in Maria, after I by no means misplaced contact through the Web or phone. However with Fiona rather a lot. It rained repeatedly for a very long time.”

The storm hit Puerto Rico on September 18, inflicting huge flooding, wind harm, energy outages and water service throughout a big a part of the island, affecting tens of millions of residents and killing a minimum of 4 individuals, officers stated. Loss of life occurred. They had been investigating a minimum of 4 extra deaths.

Earlier, Fiona had killed one in Guadeloupe. After the storm handed Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic brought on much more harm because it gained power because it moved north, inflicting landfall and destroying a whole lot of properties. Within the Dominican Republic, a minimum of two individuals died – one from a utility pole, the opposite from a tree that was toppled by sturdy winds.

Fiona additionally struck the Turks and Caicos on September 20, and winds of 155 mph had been recorded on September 21 because it moved towards Bermuda. It was anticipated to go between Bermuda and the japanese United States earlier than touring north to Nova Scotia and different Atlantic provinces in japanese Canada.

Archbishop Gonzalez instructed CNS that varied Catholic charity chapters within the US in addition to the Chicago-based Catholic Extension had already provided monetary or materials help.

He stated the island’s personal Caritas crews didn’t have sufficient time to compile a report on the harm after Fiona in areas inaccessible as a consequence of transportation and public security difficulties.

He described each Ponce and Mayagüez as poor areas and stated that Ponce was nonetheless grappling with harm following the current earthquake that left the native cathedral with structural harm that had lately been addressed in a preliminary method. it was completed.

He additionally stated that post-hurricane repairs and hardening of Puerto Rico’s infrastructure following Hurricane Maria in 2017 weren’t fairly as anticipated, and that the state of affairs has now been intensified by Fiona.

“Now we have not been adequately concerned within the restoration efforts after Hurricane Maria, so this can be a massive wakeup name. Right here on this storm[path]each two years we get to keep away from one in every of these atmospheric disasters,” he stated, including that in his time in Corpus Christi, Texas, as a codjuror bishop, a extreme hurricane disaster. additionally skilled.

“An expertise like that is particularly traumatic for kids; throughout a storm it isn’t simply wind and rain, it’s the noise that’s fairly painful for kids,” stated the archbishop, including that he hopes locals within the affected areas Catholic faculties will likely be closed for weeks.

In separate telegrams despatched to the Presidents of the Bishops of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic September 21, Pope Francis assured them of his prayers, saying that God would supply his comfort to these struggling on account of the pure catastrophe.

To learn how to assist go to the web site for caritas in Puerto Rico: https://caritaspr.web/.

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