LA Puerto Rican community gathers donations for Hurricane Maria victims

"This storm crushed us from one end of the island to the other". Although at 5 p.m. ET, Maria had weakened significantly to a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, it left a trail of devastation in the island, ripping roofs off buildings, filling homes with water, and knocking out power to the entire population.

In recent years, residents of the low-income neighborhood had worked hard to change its image - and they got a huge boost when Puerto Rican artists Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee chose to film the music video for their hit song "Despacito" there in 2016.

The death toll from Hurricane Maria jumped to at least 13 in Puerto Rico, where almost 700 people were rescued from rising floodwaters, officials said Friday.

The evacuation came as at least six people were confirmed dead in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria pummelled the region. NPR's Greg Allen reports that Hurricane Maria presents a new challenge for Puerto Rico at a time when it is already in deep financial trouble.

"The people of Puerto Rico are really being tremendous under these circumstances", he said.

Significant flooding and debris have limited the ability to safely conduct damage assessments, according to the most recent report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The power outage is inhibiting communication across the island.

Julio Morales and Miriam Pagan stand on the front of their damaged home, in El Negro community a day after the impact of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico, on Thursday, September 21, 2017.

Aerial Footage Show Hurricane Maria's Wrath on Dominica
Aerial Footage Show Hurricane Maria's Wrath on Dominica

Puerto Rico was expected to receive 20 to 30 inches (51 to 76 centimeters) of rain through Saturday, with some isolated areas receiving 35 inches, the National Hurricane Center said.

The second potential track would move the storm closer to the Outer Banks of North Carolina or the mid-Atlantic.

The eye of the storm was nearing the Turks and Caicos early Friday. Widespread flooding completely engulfs the municipality of Toa Baja, a short drive west of the capital city. The island is expected to be without power for weeks, authorities said.

LUIS FORTUNO: The power authority needs tremendous infusion of money, and those funds have not been available. Things and conditions were not well at the airport in San Juan.

That number includes two police officers who drowned in floodwaters in the western town of Aguada.

"Some transmission structures collapsed", Mr Rossello said, adding that there was no severe damage to electric plants. "This is an event without precedent".

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Thursday night that she still has not heard from loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria's wrath left some of the area's residents homeless. But today, Puerto Rico needs your help, and I'm calling on everyone to support and donate to the disaster relief effort of the First Lady of Puerto Rico Beatriz Rosselló. The team in the last month has also responded to aid hurricane recovery efforts in Texas and Florida.

  • Leon Brazil