All Power Out in Puerto Rico—Restoration May Take Months
Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico on Wednesday, with sustained winds of 115 mph as it passed over the island. All 3.5 million inhabitants lost access to electricity and many may be without power for months, according to reports.
The U.S. territory was pummeled with 20 to 30 inches of rain in 24 hours, and up to 80 percent of homes have sustained major damage, according to ABC News.
Meanwhile, the BBC Reports:
Puerto Rico has asked President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster area after the storm unleashed heavy flooding and life-threatening winds.
Governor Rossello said major damage was inevitable, although 500 shelters had been established to protect people.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Maria was projected to pass north of the Dominican Republic on Thursday and then on to the Turks and Caicos Islands and south-eastern Bahamas.
Images shared on social media show roofs being stripped away as winds as strong as 140 mph (225 km/h) whipped trees and power lines in Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan.
The US territory is facing $73bn (£53bn) in public debt and the damage left by Maria could exacerbate its financial crisis. Declaring a disaster means the island could receive more federal assistance in its recovery.
“God is with us; we are stronger than any hurricane,” Mr Rossello said. “Together we will rise again.”
Maria made landfall in Yabucoa in the east of Puerto Rico early on Wednesday as a category four storm, according to the NHC. It was the first category four hurricane to directly hit the island since 1932.
Hours earlier, Maria barrelled through the US Virgin Islands’ St Croix as a category five storm, sustaining winds of up to 175mph (281km/h).
The French territory of Guadeloupe suffered flooding on Monday and one person was killed by a falling tree and another died on the seafront. At least two others were missing after their ship sank near Desirade, the easternmost island in the archipelago.
Maria is the second devastating storm to hit the Caribbean this hurricane season – the first being category five Irma earlier in September. Maria began moving roughly along the same track as Irma.
As it heads toward the Turks and Caicos islands, the hurricane is projected to become a high Category 3 or low Category 4 storm.
You can see some of the havoc inflicted, below:Your support matters…
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