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HURRICANE MARIA | Puerto Rico faces weeks without electricity after Maria


Published: Fri, September 22, 2017 @ 2:03 p.m.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico faced another night of darkness today, two days after Hurricane Maria hurled rain and wind at the U.S. territory and knocked out its electricity grid.

Residents feared power could be out for weeks – or even months – and wondered how their battered island would cope.

Some of the island's 3.4 million residents planned to come to the U.S. to temporarily escape the desolation left by the destruction. At least in the short term, though, the soggy misery will continue: additional rain - up to 6 inches - is expected through Saturday.

Neida Febus wandered around her San Juan neighborhood with bowls of cooked rice, ground meat and avocado, offering food to anyone in need. The damage was so extensive, the 64-year-old retiree said, she didn't think the power would be turned back on until Christmas.

"This storm crushed us from one end of the island to the other," she said.

The death toll in Puerto Rico stood at six but was likely to rise. Héctor M. Pesquera of the Department of Public Safety said the casualties occurred in the municipalities of Utuado, Toa Baja, and Bayamón.

"At the moment these are fatalities we know of. We know of other potential fatalities through unofficial channels that we haven't been able to confirm," Pesquera said.

•••

10:41 a.m.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rican officials say at least six people have died in connection with Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety Secretary Hictor M. Pesquera said Friday that authorities were aware of “other potential fatalities” but have not been able to confirm them.

The six casualties occurred in three municipalities. In Utuado three people died in landslides. In Toa Baja, two people died as a result of the flooding. And in Bayamsn, one person died after being struck by a panel.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is heading to the Caribbean for the second time in a week to get a firsthand look at the damage left behind by a hurricane.

The Democrat announced Thursday that he’ll travel to Puerto Rico with New York state emergency response officials to help recovery efforts on the island ravaged by Hurricane Maria.

Cuomo’s office says Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello asked his New York counterpart for emergency goods and services to help the recovery.

Cuomo’s trip comes a week after he traveled to the U.S. Virgin Islands at the invitation of the territory’s governor to see the damage caused by Hurricane Irma. Cuomo vowed to send New York aid to the devastated islands.


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