BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — As Hurricane Fiona pummels Puerto Rico, members of the local Puerto Rican community in Central Alabama feel heartbroken for their homeland, an island they say just can’t seem to catch a break.
“We got up on our feet, and now we got hit by Fiona. It’s just one [storm] after another,” Luis Delgado said.
Delgado is the owner and operator of the Miami Fusion Cafe in Birmingham. He is originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico, but has lived in the Magic City for 14 years.
Most of his family is still back on the island, and the images of destruction from Fiona are causing especially painful memories of Hurricane Maria. The Category 4 storm that killed more than 3,000 hit Puerto Rico five years ago this week, and parts of it still haven’t recovered.
“People are still living off the land. There’s a lot of people that a home is just three walls and a shed,” Delgado said.
Coralys Torres from Yauco, Puerto Rico, frequents the Miami Fusion Cafe. She also said she’s worried about her homeland.
“It’s kind of hard being here, and I know that all my family is there,” Torres said.
Her family is among the more than one million people without power on Monday, but she has been able to speak with them.
“Thankfully, they’re doing fine – for now,” Torres said.
However, in spite of the fear, both Torres and Delgado assure that Puerto Rico may be small, but its people are strong.
“They have been through this before, they can come out of this again,” Torres said.
“The Puerto Rican people are resilient people. We’re Taino Indians. We’re resilient people, and we know how to come back from disasters,” Delgado said.
Delgado added that the community is trying to organize a fund or donations. If you want to help, they will post more information on the Miami Fusion Cafe Facebook and Instagram Pages.