According to emergency officials, the island of Puerto Rico has been “destroyed” after Hurricane Maria made landfall there as a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning.
Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management confirmed that 100% of the U.S. territory of 3.4 million people had lost power, noting that anyone with electricity was using a generator.
Telecommunications throughout the island have “collapsed” Abner Gomez Cortes, executive director of Puerto Rico’s office of emergency management and disaster administration agency, told ABC News..
The hurricane warning for Puerto Rico was officially discontinued at 11 p.m., according to the National Weather Service, but heavy rain continued overnight. Cortes described Maria as an unprecedented storm, adding that the island had not seen a storm of that strength since 1928.
The storm has been blamed for at least 18 deaths, including 15 in Dominica, two in Guadeloupe and one in northern Puerto Rico’s Bayamon district, where a man was struck by a board he had used to cover his windows during the storm.
Puerto Rico was still experiencing tropical-storm force winds Wednesday afternoon, forcing emergency services and search and rescue teams to wait before heading out to assess the damage.
Experts revealed that it could take up to 6 months before the electricity has been fully restored. “The electricity grid has been totally destroyed”. It looks to be worse than a war zone.
ABC News / Crickey-Conservation Society 2017.