Philadelphians anxiously await to hear from loved ones in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico

As recovery efforts resume in Puerto Rico after a direct hit from Hurricane Fiona, natives in Philadelphia are nervously awaiting to hear from family and loved ones. 

Hurricane Fiona dumped nearly 30 inches of rain on Puerto Rico over a two-day period. Over the weekend, the storm knocked out power and water to most of the island, and National Guard troops rescued hundreds of people who got stranded.

"I was watching the news and see the one bridge they just fixed, and it washed away," Joe Jarvis, a North Philadelphia resident with family in Puerto Rico, said. "That is their main entrance in and out of town, so now they are really stuck."


Jarvis's family lives in the small mountain town of Aibonito, about three hours away from San Juan. Repeated attempts to get in touch with his family have been mostly unsuccessful. 

"We're calling back and forth to see who answers, if someone answers," Jarvis said. "They can get no supplies, no clean water, no anything."

The blow from Fiona was made more devastating because Puerto Rico has yet to recover from Hurricane Maria, which killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017. Five years later, more than 3,000 homes on the island are still covered by blue tarps.

Two women in Philadelphia's Fairhill section have also had little luck trying to get in touch with their family members back home. Through a translator, one of the women described her level of stress to FOX 29's Dawn Timmeny. 

"It's too much, it's too much," she said. "She has not been able to communicate with her family and she's worried."

Nilda Ruiz, President and CEO of The Association of Puerto Ricans on the March, is one of 40 local organizations banning together to help get money and supplies to Puerto Rico. 

"They need gas stoves, fans, portable radios, essential like milk, baby food," Ruiz said. The collective effort is still working out the logistics on how to get a payload of goods to the island and encouraged anyone interested in helping to check their website

The storm's eye passed close to Grand Turk, the small British territory's capital island, on Tuesday morning after the government imposed a curfew and urged people to flee flood-prone areas. Storm surge could raise water levels there by as much as 5 to 8 feet above normal, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

The Associated Press contributed to this report