Puerto Rico's Airport jammed

On Monday, the sweltering halls of San Juan International Airport was swarming with stranded and uncertain travelers wanting to know about their departure time so that they can meet back there with their families after the devastation caused by Hurricane Maria on the island including power and communications failure. They could not even check out of the hotels lest get any flights out. Puerto Rican officials have already confirmed of the hurricane causing at least 10 storm-related fatalities on the island and 19 other deaths across the Caribbean, majorly from the devastated island nation of Dominica.

Puerto Rico's cash-strapped government kept repairing the San Juan airport as their top priority. The repair work might cost over tens of billions of dollars. Opening after several days due to storm, the airport is a live test of Puerto Rico's ability to help people travel and make up for the supplies and communication gap plaguing the island since the storm. Until now a haven for Caribbean islanders, Puerto Rico has been turned into a disaster zone by Hurricane Irma and then Maria with no power and people looking to flee.

Heavy rains have weakened a dam on the island and it looks poised to fail and could cause a flood and take thousands of homes downstream. Some 70,000 people living below the Guajataca Dam have been evacuating since Friday after being warned of the dam's imminent collapse. This has spiked the extreme difficulties of the disaster relief authorities trying to help after Maria. 29 lives have already been claimed across the Caribbean. Warning about the fissure in the structure as a significant rupture, Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello has urged all residents to evacuate. On Monday, the The National Weather Service in San Juan issued a flood warning for western Puerto Rico.

Both major hurricanes, Irma and Maria were the most powerful hurricanes to hit the island in nearly a century and have caused devastating destruction. Many have lost everything including their houses and all belongings. After touring the island, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo cited severe flooding, structural damage to homes and the loss of all electricity as top issues plaguing Puerto Ricans. New York is home to many of Puerto Rican descent, he said that the situation required much more than financial assistance from the federal government.

Even the island's medical facilities have gone into a precarious shape as hospitals have flooded and broken into rubble. Diesel fuel is not enough to keep the generators functional, many patients have to move to the US mainland as the only course of action. About $45 billion in damage and lost economic activity is the storms effect of devastation. Of it, $30 billion is in Puerto Rico. This was stated by Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler at Enki Research in Savannah, GA.

December 17, 2017 - 00:47
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