Hurricane Fiona poured over 30 inches of rain in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic last week, which triggered flooding, mudslides, and destruction. Now, the Puerto Rican governor, Pedro Pierluisi, is requesting a major disaster declaration.

Source: WKYC Channel 3/YouTube

Although President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration, a major disaster declaration will bring much-needed additional resources. Governor Pierluisi said the damage on the island is “catastrophic in many areas,” and the situation is “very delicate and sad.”

If a major disaster declaration is granted, it would free up federal funds for public and individual assistance. The United States Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he would urge the government to cover 100 percent of disaster response costs instead of the usual 75 percent.

Fiona has killed at least five people in the Caribbean since it began tearing through the region. Flooding has left critical infrastructure damage in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Over 1 million people in the Dominican Republic had no water service as of Wednesday morning, and nearly 700,000 homes and businesses were without power, according to the National Emergency Operations Center.

Fiona passed the Turks and Caicos as a Category 3 storm before strengthening to Category 4. Winds were at least 130 mph early Wednesday over the Atlantic. Now, Fiona is expected to approach Bermuda, and the hurricane center said that Fiona is forecasted to be a hurricane-force cyclone through Saturday.

How You Can Donate and Help:

A woman-led nonprofit Taller Salud is coordinating hurricane relief efforts and accepting donations from anything from nonperishable food, adult and baby diapers, gallons of water, toiletries, and more.

Nonprofit Global Giving has launched the “Hurricane Fiona Relief Fund,” and they aim to raise $1 million to help residents.

Puerto Rican mutual-aid group is asking for donations to get essentials for residents, like first-aid kits, water filters, solar lamps, and water purification tablets.

Nonprofit Hispanic Federation is on the ground in Puerto Rico, giving emergency relief services and essential supplies.

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