HURRICANE MARIA 2017

After Hurricane Maria knocked out electricity to all of Puerto Rico, residents of the United States territory are "gasping for air" in the brutal heat, says the mayor of the island’s capital city of San Juan.

"What's out there is total devastation. Total annihilation. People literally gasping for air. I personally have taken people out and put them in ambulances because their generator has run out," Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told ABC News.

Cruz said Puerto Rico has been prepared for major storms since the end of August, when Hurricane Irma was approaching. Irma slammed into the island and caused deaths and devastation, and was soon followed by the catastrophic hit of Maria. Parts of the island have now gone several weeks without running water and electricity.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello says the island is facing an "unprecedented disaster" in the wake of Maria, which tore through on Sept. 20, killing at least 16, demolishing homes and leaving long lines of residents desperate for gas. Today there are still over 11,000 people in 174 shelters, according to Puerto Rico's Secretary of Public Affairs.

 

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