Puerto Rico native, studying at U of R, fearful for family amidst Hurricane Fiona

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – “I’m calling my family as constantly as I can, to make sure they’re ok, and safe, because you never know how these things can go,” was the first thing Pamela Alvarez said when we asked her how her family is doing.

Families here in Rochester, who have loved ones in Puerto Rico, are scared for their safety. Puerto Rico is suffering a total blackout as Hurricane Fiona rips through the U.S. territory.

Alvarez is from Puerto Rico. Right now she’s a senior at U of R. Her family is back on the island, and they told her they’re saving all the power they have left. Whipping winds caused the blackout, and continued power outages across the territory.

Hurricane Fiona comes just five years after Puerto Rico’s power grid was devastated by Hurricane Maria in 2017. Maria left many without electricity for months. Alvarez says it was devastating not being able to communicate with her family, and wondering if they were ok.

“The power went out a few hours ago, on the whole island. So, my mom is like let me save my batteries as much as I can, because there is probably going to be a power outage for maybe even a few days, because the electrical service has never been the same after Hurricane Maria. Rebuilding everything was really hard, but I am from the middle part of the island, and everything is good and safe for now, so let’s hope it keeps being that way,” Alvarez prayed.

State leaders are also praying for the island. Governor Kathy Hochul released this statement Sunday afternoon saying, “I’m praying for the people of Puerto Rico, who are facing dangerous conditions due to Hurricane Fiona. New York will always stand with, and support, Puerto Rico.”