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'The water is still rising.' Puerto Rican family in Brooklyn fears for family in Fiona’s aftermath

Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans fled the island in the months following Hurricane Maria — and many found homes in New York City. Now they are worried about Hurricane Fiona’s impact on their loved ones.

News 12 Staff

Sep 19, 2022, 9:34 PM

Updated 637 days ago

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Hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans fled the island in the months following Hurricane Maria — and many found homes in New York City. Now they are worried about Hurricane Fiona’s impact on their loved ones.
Natasha Villegas fled Puerto Rico five years ago when Hurricane Maria hit. She now lives in Brooklyn with her mother and two brothers, but the rest of her family still lives on the island.
Villegas says in the years since Hurricane Maria, the island has barely improved.
“It's really sad that nothing has changed…People are just doing the best they can without expecting help from nobody again,” she says.
Villegas says her family’s top concerns are rising river levels and running out of resources.
Hurricane Fiona has knocked out the electric grid and left more than 800,000 people without water service, according to officials.
Villegas family members who live in Arecibo, Puerto Rico to have solar panels, so they were able to contact her recently. However, they ended up losing power later on Monday.
Villegas says her grandmother told her the conditions back home are dangerous.
“For example, one lady was saved today after eight hours of holding onto a tree, screaming for help. So [my grandmother] is grateful there hasn't been that much of a body count but still…the rivers haven't gone down, the water is still rising,” Villegas says.
Tuesday will mark five years since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico.


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