More than 63% of Puerto Rican electricity customers were still without power Friday morning as Category 4 Hurricane Fiona hammered Bermuda on its path north toward Canada’s Maritime provinces. “This could be Canada’s version of (Hurricane) Sandy,” Chris Fogarty, a meteorologist for Canada’s hurricane center, told CNN. President Biden officially declared a major disaster for Puerto Rico on Thursday, freeing up even more relief funds and resources for the island where the storm’s official death toll has risen to eight. Hundreds of people remain completely trapped by flooded or washed out roads and about three-quarters of the Island still lack clean water as well, according to the Jubilee USA Network, Axios reported.
“It’s not just the electrical grid — it’s also the sewers, it’s also the streets, highways, bridges, schools,” José Caraballo-Cueto, an economist at the University of Puerto Rico, told Axios. “Almost every area of the government infrastructure is needing renovation.” The essentially disenfranchised territory’s public utility is in bankruptcy, LUMA, which controls the electrical “has failed miserably,” according Caraballo-Cueto, and is coming under even more intense scrutiny after the island-wide blackout, the second in six months, following Hurricane Fiona. (Bermuda: AP, AP video $; Canada: CNN, Yale Climate Connections, Axios; Puerto Rico: Reuters, AP, Axios, Axios; Climate Signals background: Hurricanes)