Fiona's aftermath: NYC Mayor Eric Adams arrives in Puerto Rico to survey damage

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ByJoe Torres via WABC logo
Monday, September 26, 2022
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Joe Torres reports from Puerto Rico

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams arrived in Puerto Rico on Sunday to survey the damage from Hurricane Fiona as recovery efforts continue across the island.

To help with those efforts, members of the New York and New Jersey state police departments are now in Puerto Rico, where half of the island is still without power.

The Sunday morning strategy paid off for people in Puerto Rico's second largest city - get to the gas station early, fill up the tank and top off the canister before the lines get dreadfully long.

For Teresa Almodovar, 57, and her 27-year-old daughter, that is just about the only thing that has gone right in the past week. Like everyone else in Ponce, they have been without power and water since Hurricane Fiona arrived last Sunday.

Krystal Hernandez and her mother collect rain water.

"For cleaning, for the bathroom, for the plants," said Hernandez.

Miles to the west of Ponce on the island's south shore, the sights and sounds of recovery fill the air.

Utility crews cut through snapped trees and broken limbs to access the power lines trapped underneath. Across the way, a line of cars snaked out of the gas station. The fuel isn't just for vehicles, it is also for the generators that keep freezers on and phones charged.

"We are trying to go to the store to buy ice to make drinks an cold water, stuff like that," said Guayanilla resident Walter Oliveras.

Oliveras says they have no gas, so he depends on the neighbors.

Mayor Eric Adams arrived in Puerto Rico and ventured to the far southwest corner of the island to survey the damage in Cabo Rojo. He reassured the people there that New York City stands ready to provide immediate assistance.

"I am a mayor that has gone through a lot and I want to help people who are going through a lot," said Adams, "Far too often in my life no one was there, and I don't want to have a city where we are not there."

From Puerto Rico, Mayor Adams flew to the Dominican Republic to see and hear about the damage in a country that is home to so many New Yorkers - like Congressman Adriano Espaillat.

"With all the issues, FEMA is still the agency that provides help to Puerto Rico. We have to go through USAID or the Red Cross to bring help to the Dominican Republic," said Congressman Espaillat.

The congressman acknowledges that providing U.S. assistance to storm victims in a foreign country is more challenging than helping out the American citizens of Puerto Rico. However, he says that help needs to come through.

RELATED | How to help Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic during Hurricane Fiona

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