Hurricane Maria Live Updates: Catastrophic Flooding in Puerto Rico

Hurricane Maria Live Updates: Catastrophic Flooding in Puerto Rico

In May, Puerto Rico filed for bankruptcy following a ten year recession that prompted widespread "brain drain" from the island country to the U.S. mainland. González-Colón spoke from Carolina, near San Juan. Maria's maximum sustained winds of 120 mph make it a Category 3 hurricane.

The shutdown of Puerto Rico's electrical grid has meant big changes for students like Miguel Santiago, who attends the University of Puerto Rico and works at WRTU, the NPR member station there. And that came less than two weeks after another massive storm, Hurricane Irma, sideswiped the island, leaving 70 percent without power and killing dozens on nearby islands. The government has been unable to pay out full government pensions or continue some much needed public services, such as education.

"We're just waiting and praying". You know, their roots are intact. They fell off completely. "It's really hard to walk around it".

President Trump has approved a disaster declaration for the Virgin Islands, making federal relief funds available.

This editorial appeared in The Dallas Morning News on Thursday, Sept. 21.

Payne recalled first hearing about Maria while on a boat to Puerto Rico to get more supplies.

And in Puerto Rico, still in the midst of a storm that its governor says has decimated parts of the island, also comes a message of perseverance. The Puerto Rican Arts Alliance and the National Museum of Mexican Art are teaming up to raise funds to help with recovery from both natural disasters. The sound of chain saws and small bulldozers could be heard across San Juan as firefighters removed trees and lifted toppled lamp posts. Overwhelmed by the response, the agency asked that individuals not send follow-up emails unless their relative's situation had changed.

He said the island 'is in very, very, very tough shape'.

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A day after Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico, flooding towns, crushing homes and killing at least two people, millions of people on the island faced the dispiriting prospect of weeks and perhaps months without electricity.

"This is not Chicago, it's not Miami, it's not Houston", said Gutierrez, D-Chicago.

"I tried to call [my in-laws] through Facebook", said Daniela Belendez, 74. The most immediate needs are medical equipment, baby food, diapers, and flashlights, she said. "We know there are severe damages along different rivers and reservoirs, and water has overflowed from riverbanks, causing flooding", he added.

But the silver lining in this chaos is that time and time again, nature's wrath is answered by steely human resolve.

As of the 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Maria is now a Category 3 storm that gave a glancing blow to the Dominican Republic overnight. All the recent hurricanes together claimed only a fraction of those lives.

Maria is expected to move toward the east side of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Bahamas through Friday.

"It is worse than a war zone", said Skerrit, who himself had to to be rescued during the hurricane, which blew the roof off his residence.

Vanessa Ortiz, an actor and lifelong Washington Heights resident, said her mother was last in contact with five relatives in the southern city of Guayama Tuesday afternoon, but lost contact that night.