Fajardo.- Taking refuge only from tropical storm Laura on school grounds is not enough. This hurricane season -with the passage of another atmospheric phenomenon of impact (Isaías) last month- includes a pandemic, so the enemy is not only outside.
Inside the classroom, you have to protect yourself with masks and social distancing while watching the downpour fall through the windows, jamaqueados by the wind.
At the Berta Zalduondo elementary school in Fajardo, two septuagenarians, a man and a woman, were the only ones present in the shelter and shared a classroom. Both were sitting on the corners, to protect themselves from Laura's passage and from a possible contagion of COVID-19, a virus that has had Puerto Rico in a state of emergency since March.
Until 2:00 p.m. Saturday, the Housing Department reported that a total of 23 people went to shelters in different parts of the island such as Caguas, San Sebastián, Naranjito and Ceiba to protect themselves from the heavy rains associated with the storm that was crossing through the southwest.
At a desk, Bernard “Eddie” Edney, 75 years old from Santa Cruz listened to the incidents of the day due to Laura's passage on a small battery-powered radio. Through the device he learned of the strong gust of about 75 miles per hour registered in Salinas, a southern municipality. Edney lives in the Puerta Real neighborhood and decided to leave his home for fear of the sea.
“I live alone and the sea gets rough. You can see some 21 foot high waves. Here, they treat me well, they feed me, like a hotel, "said the music teacher to Primera Hora.
On an extreme cot, Georgina Mendonza, 74, preferred to be at home, but she agreed to be evicted from the Florencia neighborhood. He was accompanied by Susy, a small Sata dog.
“I am not afraid of the coronavirus because I do not leave my house. I prefer to be at home. The neighbors called to evict me and I accepted. But I prefer to be at home like when the other storm (Isaías) passed, ”he insisted.
The mayor of Fajardo, José Aníbal“ Joey ”Meléndez, informed Primera Hora that no major incidents occurred during the day when the downpours increased their intensity.
“Thank God without any news or any inconvenience. The mitigation works of collecting debris and cleaning pipes and sewers have been successful. We have no landslides or floods. We only have two refugees. Not that their houses were damaged. They are two elderly people who live alone and are in the shelter, "said Meléndez, who is in quarantine because he had contact last week with Carlos" Johnny "Méndez, president of the House of Representatives, who tested positive for COVID-19 .
The areas prone to flooding in Fajardo are San Pedro Viejo and Maternillo.