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Title:Hurricane Fiona Spells Misery for Puerto Ricans After Hurricane Maria’s Unheeded Lessons
Date:9/22/2022 5:39:58 PM

Hurricane Fiona, a Category 1 hurricane, made landfall in southwestern Puerto Rico on September 19, 2022, one day shy of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Maria. Fiona blew furiously with maximum wind speeds over 100 miles per hour and dumped up to 25 inches of rain in many of the mountain and central rural areas of the Puerto Rican archipelago. Currently, entire towns across Puerto Rico are flooded (and in some places, it looks like fuel is floating in the waters around flooded residences).

We are seeing “the impact of climate change and the failure of infrastructure.”

Fiona caught Puerto Rico’s government utterly unprepared, leaving the population unprotected. But it was not for lack of warnings from scientists, Puerto Rican communities - and their advocates - in the island and the diáspora. We warned time and time again that the recovery process throughout the five years since Hurricane Maria was incomplete and inadequate, that privatizing the electricity transmission and distribution grid, and continuing to burn fossil fuels for electricity production were terrible ideas that would make Puerto Ricans pay more for an ever more unreliable power service.

But all of those warnings, backed by climate resilience and renewable energy studies (for example, the Puerto Rico Council on Climate Change’s recommendations to strengthen measures to protect from more intense hurricanes and Queremos Sol’s Solar Integration Study), and by the experiences of community-based organizations who led their own communities’ recovery since Maria, were ignored. Indeed, the government wasted five years, as Ingrid Vila Biaggi from CambioPR said recently during a discussion on the situation in Puerto Rico.

“Tragically, this is the perfect moment to have this conversation.”

The federal response to Hurricane Maria, from the get-go, was plagued with inefficiencies and derisiveness towards Puerto Ricans. Delays and high rejection...

Organization:Union of Concerned Scientists - Global Warming
Date Added:9/23/2022 6:38:55 AM