NEW ORLEANS — Hurricane Fiona slammed the Dominican Republic today after knocking out power to all of Puerto Rico and causing many people there to lose water.
Many Puerto Rican students attend Loyola University New Orleans and are watching the disaster play out more than a thousand miles from home.
Julia Bueno is a sophomore involved with The Maroon, the university's student-run media.
She said her mom is currently in Puerto Rico and lives alone as a single parent.
“No power. I don’t know if she has water," Bueno said, “It’s funny cause I sometimes get mad at her for calling me, and today I didn’t receive a call I felt kind of weird and maybe worried at the same time.”
She hopes she can reach her mom later today but is assuming her mom's phone battery has died and she can't charge it due to power outages.
Francisco Esteves is another Loyola sophomore from Puerto Rico working for The Maroon.
“I wish I was there. I wish I could help in some way, but we’re doing what we can," Esteves said.
Esteves said his immediate family that lives in the metropolitan areas should be fine, but it's his family living in the more rural areas that face a more dire situation when it comes to electricity and flooding.
Five years ago, these students were living in Puerto Rico when a deadly category five hurricane hit the island.
“Brings me back to Maria, not going to lie. We all expected this. We expected the power was going to go out even before the hurricane," Sophomore Patricia Cabrera said about Fiona, “It’s a lack of care that the government gives to our generators.”
Hurricane Maria killed nearly 3,000 people and destroyed the power grid in 2017.
This time, these students are watching the aftermath from St. Charles Avenue, and they hope for a better outcome.
“In Maria, I lost my house. I was one of the many people that lost it," Bueno said, “I left my house that day with a pair of jeans, two shoes, and two tshirts.”
Now, Bueno said she's attending Loyola with a scholarship. She came to New Orleans to learn, offered a lesson to those with loved ones in the Caribbean right now.
“Be positive and stick together. It’s the best thing you can do," Bueno said.