Puerto Rican Minnesotan braces for Hurricane Maria

Puerto Rico declares a state of emergency as Hurricane Maria bears down on the island nation. Among those helping is a MN doctor who is also a native of Puerto Rico.

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO - Miguel Fiol of Edina was vacationing in his native island of Puerto Rico, when forecasters reported that Hurricane Maria, a Category 5 storm, was heading straight for the US territory. 

The governor declared a state of emergency. Officials told those who lived in vulnerable areas prone to flooding to evacuate. 

Dr. Fiol could have jumped on a Delta flight bound for MSP Airport. But instead, he decided to stay put. 

"As a physician, I'm trying to help as much as I can with the shelters. They're full of people," said Dr. Fiol, who is a neurologist and a faculty member at the University of Minnesota. 

Although Hurricane Irma did not cause widespread devastation, more than 60,000 Puerto Ricans are still without power. Some evacuees from islands in the Caribbean who fled to Puerto Rico to escape Irma's wrath are still in  shelters. 

"This is the first time in the history of Puerto Rico that two hurricanes have hit, in such a short period of time," said Dr. Fiol. "There is a lot of apprehension." 

The island was already in the process of trying to dig itself out of a historic financial crisis. Now comes this. 

"Puerto Rico has big problems economically and politically," said Dr. Fiol. "And now to add to things, two hurricanes is just enough to get people really frustrated and depressed." 

Hurricane Maria is expected to make landfall on Wednesday. 

 

© 2017 KARE-TV


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