The memory of Hurricane Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico five years ago, is still very fresh in the minds of the island’s residents. With that comes worry for many here in Connecticut who have loved ones and colleagues still in Puerto Rico.
Hurricane Fiona made landfall there Sunday, creating widespread flooding and leaving the island in the dark. Whipping winds along with crippling rain has once again brought destruction to Puerto Rico, and anxiety for some here in Connecticut.
“I’m feeling it myself,” said Amilcar Hernandez, an organizer of Hartford’s Puerto Rican parade. “I can feel my heart beat really hard, because all I’m thinking about is my sister my father and my aunt.”
Fueling fears are memories of Hurricane Maria. While Fiona was not as strong, the memories of that storm are vivid for those experiencing flooding and power outages now.
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“When they see all this water coming through the houses, coming through their streets and they cannot leave their homes, it creates a lot of distress,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez said the parade committee is already discussing relief efforts. Across town, the Hartford Hispanic Health Council is also organizing.
“We are caucusing and meeting about benefits for the community," said Melvin Gonzalez, chief human resource officer at the Hartford Hispanic Health Council.
Gonzalez said his aunt is currently visiting Connecticut from Puerto Rico. She doesn’t know how her house was affected and cannot return anytime soon.
“It has brought a lot of tears. It’s been hard-hitting even to our home here,” he added.
Nearly the entire island is without power, concerning for Hartford’s Margarita Rodriquez who has a relative there that relies on electricity for medical reasons.
“They need machines, too, for breathing. They are asthmatic, and they need it,” Rodriquez said.
Rodriquez attempted calling her relatives this morning, but couldn’t connect.
“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “It’s heartbreaking because we want to know if everybody’s okay."