Last week, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico with winds of 155 miles an hour, leaving the United States commonwealth on the brink of a humanitarian crisis. The storm left 80 percent of crop value destroyed, 60 percent of the island without water and almost the entire island without power, as seen in the nighttime satellite images below.
Juana Matos, a neighborhood in Cataño, near the capital city of San Juan, suffered severe flooding as a storm surge from nearby San Juan Bay dumped water into coastal communities. Eighty percent of the homes in the Juana Matos neighborhood were destroyed, said Cataño’s mayor, José Rosario.
Though Hurricane Maria had dropped from a Category 5 to a Category 4 storm by the time it reached Puerto Rico, it was more than powerful enough to rip apart roads and strip trees as it cut a path across the island.
Ricardo Arduengo/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
The Guajataca dam in northwestern Puerto Rico sustained structural damage, resulting in flash flood warnings for the nearby municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas. The governor said that nearly 70,000 people could be affected if the dam were to collapse.
The mountain municipality of Barranquitas in the central region of Puerto Rico has been rendered nearly inaccessible after landslides effectively sealed the area off from conventional means of travel. Across the island, roads were left strewn with debris.
Ricardo Arduengo/Agence France-Presse
More than 2,000 people were rescued from Toa Baja, one of the hardest hit towns, as the storm surge swept residents away and neighborhoods went underwater. The town’s mayor, Bernardo Márquez, said at least eight people drowned because of the flooding.