By Esther Alaejos |

Naranjito (Puerto Rico), September 21 (EFE).- Towns in Puerto Rico’s central mountain range are once again among the hardest hit by a hurricane, including Naranjito, where nine families lost their homes and began neighborhood food distribution programs.

Five years ago, with Hurricane Maria, the mountainous areas were devastated, and now they are not spared either. They suffered badly from the onslaught of Fiona, which made landfall in southwestern Puerto Rico last Sunday.

“The house exploded. At the back there was a wall and with so much water, so strong, it exploded,” says Glorimar Rodríguez, a resident of the town of Naranjito, who witnessed the explosion. collapse, says Efe with visible anguish.

This house was that of Rodríguez’s nephews and neighbors, Luis Yadriel and Darimar, aged 19 and 23 respectively, who lived together and lost all their belongings.

“Thank God, there was no one in the house”, since the two young people had taken refuge in another building during the heavy rains, says their aunt.

Among the visible devastation left by the Category 1 hurricane in Naranjito are muddy roads and paths, damaged and destroyed homes, and downed power lines and trees.

“Strong enough” emergency

José A. Figueroa, director of emergency management in Naranjito, explains to Efe that in the city “nine houses were affected, some of them destroyed and others damaged”.

Now is the time to assess the damage in order to receive help with its repair, according to Figueroa, who described the emergency in the city during Fiona’s passage between Sunday and Monday as “quite strong”.

“We immediately took to the streets to help our communities, giving them supplies, giving them personal hygiene items,” Reyes said.

After distributing food in Naranjito, the team was on its way to distribute food in Comerío, a neighboring municipality also in the mountainous area and badly affected by the hurricane.

One of the recipients of a food and water box is Esther Robles, 82, who is very worried because the lack of water and electricity at her age and being a diabetic is dangerous.

Photograph of the damage caused to certain houses following the passage of Hurricane Fiona in Naranjito (Puerto Rico). EFE / Thais Llorca

“As the light hasn’t come yet, the water hasn’t come for us to wash and bathe and that, and it also affects me for insulins, that I don’t have ice or where to put them”, laments the octogenarian.

He also relives how, as the hurricane passed, the streets were flooded and landslides occurred, which inevitably reminded him of the tragedy five years ago with María.

In Naranjito, after Hurricane María, residents who had no generators, solar panels or other energy sources were without electricity for seven months. Now they are hoping and praying that service will be restored sooner.

Web editor: Sebastián Bayona

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