Sep 20, 2017

Whole of Puerto Rico without power

Puerto Rico
by
BBC News
Photo: Reuters
Photo: Reuters

Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire island of Puerto Rico, home to 3.5m people, emergency officials have said.

Abner Gómez, head of the disaster management agency, said the hurricane had damaged "everything in its path".

None of the customers of Puerto Rico's Electric Power Authority had any electricity, he said.

The storm weakened to a category three hurricane with winds of 115 mph (185km/h) as moved across the island.

"The information we received is not encouraging," Mr Gómez told a briefing, urging people to stay in their homes.

Earlier, Puerto Rico's governor asked President Donald Trump to declare the island a disaster area after the storm unleashed heavy flooding and life-threatening winds.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said major damage was inevitable, although 500 shelters had been established to protect people.

The devastating storm has already left seven people dead on the island of Dominica, which was badly affected on Monday.

Aerial footage shows flattened houses and the death toll on Dominica is likely to rise, with details remaining scant as communication links are down.