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Puerto Rico Is Completely In The Dark After Hurricane Maria, According To Emergency Officials

Hector Retamal / Getty

The Caribbean islands are reeling after being battered by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose and now Maria. The destruction in St. Martin, Dominica and Barbuda among many, has been catastrophic. Hurricane Maria, the most recent hurricane to hit the Caribbean, grew stronger as it prepared to collide with Puerto Rico and did some of the worst damage in the U.S. commonwealth’s history. According to the BBC, all of Puerto Rico’s inhabitants, some 3.5 million people, will be sitting in the dark for the foreseeable future after Maria ripped through the island, wreaking havoc along its path.

The storm reached Category 5 status just before making landfall on the eastern side of the island in Yabucoa, where it descended to a Category 4 and pummeled the island with 155mph winds. Maria reverted back down to a Category 3 as it pulled across land, with winds of up to 115mph leaving behind downed power lines and a power grid that is in severe need of repair.

“We have not experienced an event of this magnitude in our modern history,” said Governor Ricardo Rosselló in an address to the people of Puerto Rico.

Here’s the eye of Hurricane Maria (around noon EST today) as it departed the island between the coasts of Barceloneta and Arecibo. The island isn’t out of the clear yet, however.

Credit: NOAA / El Nuevo Día

According to El Nuevo Día, while the worst may be over, the tail of the hurricane is still very dangerous and people should take heed.

This video shows the path the hurricane took as it went up to a Category 5 and back down to a Category 4 as it struck the island’s Eastern coast.

Maria brought 155 mph winds and 25 inches of rain.

Several people took to social media to show the damage Hurricane Maria has wrought on Puerto Rico.

The flooding was extremely powerful.

The whole island is currently without power.

Previous reports stated that hurricane-related power outages could last up to six months.

The Red Cross has set up dozens of shelters across the island.

Some seeking refuge had never done so in their lives, even though Hurricane Irma had passed through several days before.

Once Maria landed, the hurricane was relentless.

Even with calls coming in for rescue, it was too dangerous for the police to go out and brave the storm.

Barricades weren’t enough to keep doors and windows from being blown away.

Governor Rossello is asking for the island to be declared a disaster zone for immediate relief and support.

San Juan Mayor, Carmen Yulín Cruz Soto, fought back tears as she discussed the destruction she witnessed.

As of now, there is a curfew in place to keep non-essential responders off the streets and roads to make rescue operations more effective.

The non-profit group Center for Popular Democracy has set up the #MariaFund to help raise funds to support low-income communities impacted most by the hurricane.

Our thoughts are with the people of Puerto Rico and all those affected by this devastating hurricane season.


[H/T] BBC

READ: Puerto Rico Is On The Brink Of Financial Ruin, So It’s Shutting Down A Record Number Of Public Schools


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After Devastating Earthquake, Mexicans Are Showing Solidarity And Unity As Recovery Efforts Begin

Things That Matter

After Devastating Earthquake, Mexicans Are Showing Solidarity And Unity As Recovery Efforts Begin

Hector Vivas / Getty

After a magnitude 7.1 earthquake devastated central and parts of southern Mexico yesterday afternoon, the country is coming together to focus on rescue and recovery efforts, and to help those in need. The latest data reported has the death toll at more than 200 people. Deaths have been reported in Mexico City and other areas impacted by the earthquake, such as the states of Morelos, Puebla, Guerrero and Oaxaca.

 The death toll could rise as rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble of several collapsed buildings.

Luis Felipe Puente, the national coordinator for civil protection, tweeted an updated death toll from the earthquake with a breakdown of the areas where people died. According to Puente, Mexico City sustained the highest number of deaths at 86, with 12 other casualties reported in the State of Mexico. It’s also been confirmed that there have been 71 deaths in Morelos, 43 deaths in Puebla, four deaths in Guerrero and one death in Oaxaca.

Sobering footage of the devastating earthquake continues to make its way to social media.

The video above shows the city of Jojutla, Morelos, being shaken violently by the earthquake. Jojutla is located just 70 miles from the earthquake’s epicenter near the city of Puebla.

There is widespread infrastructure damage in the affected areas.

Bridges, metro lines and overpasses have been severely damaged by the quake.

One of the most heartbreaking stories from the catastrophic event is an elementary school in Mexico City that collapsed with children still inside.

Crews were working through the night to save the children still trapped under the rubble. According to The Los Angeles Times, at least 20 children and two adults died when a wing of the school collapsed. The latest report claims that there are still 30 children and eight adults missing from the school. Rescue workers lift their arms –  a sign they use to ask for silence –  to try and hear for voices beneath the rubble.

“Children are often the most vulnerable in emergencies such as this and we are particularly concerned because schools across the region were in session and filled with students,” Jorge Vidal, director of operations at Save the Children in Mexico, told ABC News.

There have been some moments of hope: Mexico City Mayor Miguel Ángel Mancera announced the rescue of 52 people.

The 52 people were saved from one building. As of now, there are reports that 38 buildings collapsed in the densely populated capital city.

In the wake of the earthquake, residents of Mexico City have banded together as they start the long road to recovery.

People have spent time digging through debris to save every person and pet they come across.

A group of teachers sang to keep children calm after the city was shaken.

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And volunteers have flooded every possible site to help remove debris and people from collapsed structures.

The recovery process has just begun in Mexico City but it appears that progress is already being made.

Mexico’s professional fútbol league, Liga MX, canceled all its matches this weekend so its stadiums could be used for relief efforts.

According to ESPN’s Tom Marshall, several stadiums throughout Mexico are being used as collection points for supplies and food that will be distributed to those affected by the earthquake.

If you are interested in helping those who have been affected by the earthquake, there are several ways to help. Here is a short list of organizations you can reach out to:

UNICEF Mexico: UNICEF has long been an organization that helps to protect and support children all over the world, especially in times of crisis and disaster.

Mexico Earthquake Relief Fund by GlobalGiving: GlobalGiving has helped raise more than $270 million since 2002 and vets all donation drives to ensure that they are legitimate and work for the cause they claim.

Red Cross Mexico: The Red Cross helps to provide supplies and shelter to those in need after a natural disaster.

Project Paz: Project Paz has a donation page set up where you can donate to help victims of either the Sept. 7 Oaxaca/Chiapas earthquake or the Sept. 19 Mexico City earthquake.

Los Topos: Los Topos is a rescue brigade that was formed after the 1985 Mexico City earthquake that devastated the city and are willing to step up again anytime a disaster hit’s Mexico’s capital. Donations are accepted via PayPal by sending to donativos@brigada-rescate-topos.org.


READ: Buildings Collapse And More Than 70 Dead After Mexico City Is Hit By Major Earthquake

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