The devastation left behind in the wake of Hurricane Maria on the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico is hard to believe and it all could get worse if a heavily damaged dam in the northwest part of the island gives way.
The Guajataca Dam has been releasing water after it suffered structural damage following the hurricane, that hit the Caribbean island as a category 5 storm, said Governor of Puerto Rico Ricardo Rossello on Sunday.
Rossello said the dam consists of both concrete and soil, so as the water runs through the structural damage, erosion occurs and it is taking its toll on the overall strength of the dam and he is concerned at some point it could break.
One engineer, who was on site and assessing the structure, was trying to determine the best steps to be taken to lessen the risk of the dam breaking.
Flood warnings were extended to all of western Puerto Rico until earlier Monday by San Juan’s National Weather Service.
On Friday, close to 70,000 people that live near or below the dam were told they had to evacuate. With more than 95% of all wireless services not working, authorities went door to door to tell residents of the potential danger.
Without electricity and communications across much of Puerto Rico, millions of people, including leaders of the city and the island’s first responders, have not been able to communicate with the outside world since Maria blasted on shore Wednesday.
Authorities confirmed 10 deaths but expect there could be more. A doctor at one medical center, one of the few medical centers with a generator that was working, said they were nearly out of fuel to keep the generator operating.
At the same center, doctors said they had between 2 and 3 days of medicine and medical supplies.
Governor Rossello has guaranteed that Puerto Ricans would have sufficient food and water to live.
He added that centers have already been set up and are now operating to distribute both food and water. There are more than half a million food servings as well as other resources said the governor.
He added that the island also had sufficient fuel to operate for another 20 days.
Rossello issued a plea to Congress in the U.S. for an aid package that was sufficient enough to help the U.S. territory while it recovers from the devastation left behind by Maria.