Flash flood warnings remain in place across many parts of Puerto Rico. The island has not seen such a powerful monster storm in over eighty years.
CGTN’s Nitza Soledad Perez reports.
Hurricane Maria hit the island of Puerto Rico full force. The category 4 storm pounded this US territory for hours with winds reaching 250 kilometers per hour. Several municipalities, especially those in low-lying areas, report complete devastation. Thousands of trees down, countless roads blocked and perhaps worse, the island is in the dark. One hundred percent of residents are without electricity.
“There is a lot of flooding, a lot of infrastructure damage but the only thing that should matter right now is that people stay safe, that we can save life, and we will start the rebuilding process,” Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello said.
It’s still early to quantify the losses, but it’s clear many residents lost about all they had. It will be a long road ahead for this island of 3.4 million people. Puerto Rico resident Gustavo Estrella, took stock of Maria’s impact.
“My house flew away. I lost everything, everything. Everything is lost. Not one good thing is left. My refrigerator, bed, tv, clothing, all lost,” he said.
Communications were also unstable. Several cell towers were down. And areas that weren’t already underwater remained at risk for flooding. For Gustavo, there was no time to waste. Even with the tail of the storm still on the island, he and the neighbors started the clean-up process. To get the federal funds needed to recover — Governor Rossello asked U.S. President Trump to declare the island a disaster zone. Other officials in the face of devastation appealed to the Puerto Rican diaspora who live off the island, in the continental U.S.
“Remember that you are a part of us even if you are not here. Don’t forget us. Just don’t forget us ” pleaded San Juan’s mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz. Officials and residents of an island whose government recently filed bankruptcy are asking for all the help they can get. As of now there is no clear idea of how long it will take to get electricity back nor how long the road to rebuilding will be.