Hurricane Fiona: Local Puerto Rican community waiting for ‘all clear’ as storm lashes island

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Hurricane Fiona has made landfall in Puerto Rico. We don’t know how bad the damage is yet, but the entire island is without power.

People in Philadelphia are waiting to get the all-clear, and once they do they’ll be ready to help.

Fiona made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico on Sunday.

“Five minutes ago they was telling us it was a complete blackout, no electricity,” explained Charito Morales, a community advocate and nurse who is from Puerto Rico but now lives in Philadelphia.

Morales is messaging with friends back home in Puerto Rico. She hasn’t slept, and won’t be able to until Fiona passes.

This storm comes nearly five years to the day after Hurricane Maria devastated the island.

“I am from the island of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria destroyed the island,” Morales said.

They’re still rebuilding after Maria caused billions of dollars in damage, but the biggest tragedy was the loss of life.

“We had a pile of all the bodies and from there I can’t tell you more. It was a disaster,” explained Morales.

Fiona is hitting the opposite side of the island. The winds might not be as strong, but the rainfall will be significant.

Captain Ken Pagurek of the Philadelphia Fire Department and program manager for PA Task Force 1 will be heading to Puerto Rico. He was on the island when Maria hit.

“I put life on hold, I’ll get down there and do whatever I can do to assist or tasked to do,” said Captain Pagurek.

Both are ready to hit the ground running the moment they arrive.

“That phone, the other phone – I can’t wait for them to call me,” said Morales.

To help donate, you can contact Morales at (215) 847-0256. You can also email

Items needed include: satellite phones, gloves, flashlights, first aid kits, medical supplies, construction hats, batteries, tarps, water filters, and solar chargers and lamps.

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