Fiona, a Category 1 hurricane, brought heavy rainfall and wind Monday, slamming the U.S. territory and ultimately causing an islandwide blackout. Soon after, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi confirmed on Twitter that the island’s electrical system was out of service. The same day, President Joe Biden declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, ordering federal assistance to supplement response efforts.
In response to updates that floods and landslides would continue to assail the island until Tuesday, celebrities and commentators were extending messages of strength and support and calling for a focus on Puerto Rico.
Singer Ricky Martin took to Instagram on Monday afternoon with a video post captioned “#PuertoRico te amo,” which translates to “#PuertoRico love you.”
“Puerto Rico, once again we’re facing another hard blow from Mother Nature, but, as we’ve done before, we are going to rise up with more strength and courage,” he began the video in Spanish, adding, “I know that together we’ll make our island shine like always.”
Puerto Rican singer Luis Fonsi (“Despacito”) wrote: “strength to my soul Puerto Rico. We are sample and example of a strong and resilient people.”
Actor Zoe Saldaña shared a link to a story about the island’s latest natural disaster in a post in her Instagram Story, saying, “We are thinking about you, Puerto Rico.”
“Lord of The Rings: The Rings of Power” star Ismael Cruz Cordova also shared his support in an Instagram Story calling for “all hands on deck for Puerto Rico.”
Singer Marc Anthony wrote in a post shared on his Instagram page, which featured an image of the Puerto Rican flag: “My people from Puerto Rico, we are known for being strong and for our faith, and this will not be the exception! My prayers are with you.”
Puerto Rican actor Roselyn Sanchez, best known for her roles in “Without a Trace” and more recently “Fantasy Island,” commented on the recent blackouts on social media.
“Puerto Rico... hug you and think of you,” she wrote on Instagram. “Thanks to the people and this blessed island that in times of misfortune unite as a people.”
Broadway playwright and actor Lin-Manuel Miranda shared a link on Twitter to the Hispanic Federation, a nonprofit organization founded decades ago by his father, Luis Miranda. He noted that the island is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which pummeled Puerto Rico five years ago.
“Almost exactly 5 yrs after Hurricane Maria devastated PR, Hurricane Fiona has hit, knocking out power for all. Please donate to help efforts,” he tweeted. “@HispanicFed is on the ground with permanent staff responding to needs in real-time.”
Chef José Andrés retweeted of Miranda’s post about hurricanes Fiona and Maria, adding, “@HispanicFed has always been a great partner to @WCKitchen doing great work Just like WCK teams they respond boots on the ground and support local communities, Puerto Ricans helping Puerto Ricans.”
Andrés’ not-for-profit non-governmental organization World Central Kitchen also responded on Twitter and shared its effort to provide food and support to the hardest-hit areas.
Maria was a deadly Category 5 hurricane, one of the worst storms in Puerto Rican history and the worst recorded natural disaster to occur on U.S. territory in a century. It left parts of the island without power for almost a year and resulted in the deaths of at least 2,975 people, largely because of the lack of electricity and ensuing medical and other shortages.
At the time, celebrities rallied to raise money and support Puerto Rico amid criticism over the Trump administration's slow response to the devastation, which sparked public and celebrity backlash.
In a post-hurricane visit to the island, former President Donald Trump notoriously threw paper towels into a crowd at a relief center.
On Monday, Ana Navarro, a Nicaraguan American political commentator for CNN, appeared to highlight the importance of providing the territory with substantial attention in a viral tweet shared Monday.
“Folks, I respect the Queen as much as the next person. I offer my condolences to the Brits and all who loved her, But can I please get some news and footage of the effects of Fiona in Puerto Rico?” she tweeted. “For those who need reminding, they are American citizens in distress.”
Five years later, even before Hurricane Fiona hit the island, Puerto Rico was struggling with its frail electrical grid and the slow pace of reconstruction since Hurricane Maria.