At least eight people have reportedly been killed by Hurricane Fiona as it sweeps across the Caribbean in the first major tropical cyclone of the region’s season.
After making landfall on Puerto Rico on Sunday, knocking out power to most of the island and causing flooding and landslides, the cyclone submerged parts of the Dominican Republic and pummeled the Turks and Caicos Islands. Fiona has now strengthened to a Category 4 storm headed towards Bermuda.
With Puerto Rico under warning of flash flooding, the Secretary of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Xavier Becerra, declared a state of public health emergency on Saturday. The event painfully recalls Hurricane Maria, which devastated the territory almost five years ago.
The Caribbean’s warm temperatures and high humidity create the ideal conditions for the formation of hurricanes, especially in the season running from the beginning of June to the end of November.
According to the INFORM Risk Index 2023 developed by the Joint Research Center of the European Commission, the Bahamas is the country with the greatest exposure to tropical cyclones in Latin America and the Caribbean, with a score of 8.8 out of a maximum of 10.
In second place is Antigua and Barbuda, with 8.4 points, closely followed by Cuba, with 8. The Dominican Republic, located geographically between the two islands, scored 7.9, while Mexico was the country most exposed to these storms on a continental level, obtaining 7.7 points.