Over 3 million residents of Puerto Rico are without power after Hurricane Maria devastated the island Wednesday morning with Category 4 winds as high as 155 mph and officials have warned that power may not be restored for months.
The powerful winds took out trees, ripped off roofs, and turned roads into free flowing rivers, with President Trump noting that the destruction was so bad it “absolutely obliterated” the island. Unbelievably, weather forecasts have the island once against preparing for even more rain and flash flooding.
According to The Daily Mail, the full extent of the damage still remains unclear as first responders haven’t even been able to make communication with key parts of the island that were cut off by the storm. The devastation is horrifying.
Maria moved north after pummeling the island through Wednesday night- but flooding continued through Thursday afternoon, leaving many San Juan streets looking like small rivers.
The Category 4 hurricane had sustained winds of 155mph through wednesday – and was the strongest hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in over 80 years. So far at least 19 people have been killed throughout the Caribbean – one on the US territory.
Mayor of the capital Carmen Yulin Cruz said the devastation is like nothing she has ever seen, telling MSNBC ‘The San Juan that we knew yesterday is no longer there.’
Authorities have imposed a strict curfew while warning that it will most likely take months before any sort of recovery actually begins to happen.
Police were on the streets to warn people they must respect a 6pm to 6am curfew imposed by the governor to ensure everyone’s safety. People resorted to rafts and kayaks to get around because flooding made many roads remained impassable.
‘Months and months and months and months are going to pass before we can recover from this,’ Felix Delgado, mayor of the northern coastal city of Catano, told The Associated Press.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello has called Maria ‘the most devastating storm of the century.’
The U.S. territory’s sole representative in Congress told CNBC in a telephone interview from the island that it was going to take a “titanic effort” to recover, especially considering how cash-strapped Puerto Rico already is.
“This is not the same island, ” Republican congresswoman Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon told the networks “Squawk Box” show. “There are no trees. There are no palm trees.”
“Most of the houses lost part of the windows and doors,” she continued. “People with wooden houses, of course, didn’t resist it, this type of environment like never before.”
Although most of the scenes coming from the island are ones of sheer devastation, residents of San Juan began the long process of “figuring it out” Thursday.
The Miami Herald reported:
Left to fend for themselves a day after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and forced them into a primitive existence, San Juaneros took to the streets Thursday to do what they say Caribbean people do best: Resolver. Figure it out.
No electricity? A mustachioed man in a white undershirt played traffic cop at a Santurce intersection. No ambulances? A daughter borrowed her brother’s SUV to race her frail mother from the La Perla neighborhood to a hospital. No debris removal? A physician and two neighbors borrowed garden tools to clear main Condado thoroughfares on their own.
With the enormity of Maria’s destruction still unknown even to the overwhelmed Puerto Rican government, the capital’s storm-dazed residents ventured outside Thursday, clogging roadways while trying to bring some semblance of order to their bruised city.
It is clear at this point that Puerto Rico is completely screwed and the fact that they may be without power for months could not only make things extremely difficult, it could also cause major water issues as the pumps are simply unable to operate without power.
As Congresswoman Gonzalez-Colon stunningly noted, “This is not the same island”.