Puerto Rico dam bursts in wake of Hurricane Maria – BBC News

People walk across a flooded street in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria ripped through the area.Image copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Floodwaters from Hurricane Maria have destroyed homes in Puerto Rico and knocked out the island’s electricty

A dam failure has caused “extremely dangerous” flooding on a Puerto Rico river in the wake of Hurricane Maria, authorities say.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the failure of the Guajataca Dam is a “life-threatening situation”.

More than 70,000 people live in the nearby towns of Isabela and Quebradillas.

At least 13 people have died since Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, knocking out power to the whole island.

Operators of the Guajataca Dam said the structure, at the northern end of Lake Guajataca in northwest Puerto Rico, failed at 14:10 local time (18:10 GMT).

It sparked a flash flood emergency for Isabela and Quebradillas municipalities, the NWS said in a series of tweets.

The agency urged residents in the area to “move to higher ground now” in an alert posted on its website.

Many who live near the dam are being evacuated by buses.

Media captionWhere has Hurricane Maria hit?

The category three storm is now moving away from the Turks and Caicos Islands.

It is expected to head to the northeast and east of the Bahamas over the weekend, forecasters say.

Puerto Rico’s governor has called Maria the worst hurricane in a century.

Ricardo Rossello says it could take months to restore electricity to all 3.4 million of the US island territory’s residents.

Roofs were ripped off as 140mph (225km/h) winds battered Puerto Rico’s capital city, San Juan.

The hurricane has claimed more than 30 lives across the region, and is the second devastating storm to hit the Caribbean this hurricane season.

The first was category five Irma earlier in September.

Maria also caused widespread destruction on the small island of Dominica when it hit on Monday night, leaving at least 15 dead and 20 missing.

US President Donald Trump has pledged to visit Puerto Rico, saying it was “totally obliterated” by the storm.

He has yet to declare the island a disaster area, but has made federal emergency aid available.


Write a Reply or Comment:

Your email address will not be published.*