Puerto Rican community joins in concern, aid after Hurricane Maria

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"There's a devastating hurricane heading toward Puerto Rico, and it's going to crush the island".

Maria is the second major hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month and the strongest storm to hit the USA territory of Puerto Rico in almost 90 years.

"The conditions are dire", Jennifer told People in a statement.

Other islands reporting deaths were Haiti with three; Guadeloupe, two; and Dominican Republic, one. The U.S. Army said Saturday it has deployed more than 1,900 soldiers and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers personnel to the territories since Maria hit. El Nuevo Día newspaper says 15 people have died.

President Donald Trump told reporters at the U.N. General Assembly in New York Thursday Maria "totally obliterated" Puerto Rico and said USA emergency crews were beginning to help with the recovery. The people of Toa Baja waded through water with what's left of their belongings. Toppled trees cut power lines and streets were turned into rivers. President Donald Trump has declared a federal disaster, making the island eligible for more assistance.

As he watched the line of donors pulling into the club's drive, he smiled and said, "I've never seen something so handsome, and I've been around a long time".

After lashing the northern Dominican Republic, Maria was headed north with maximum sustained winds of 125 miles per hour Friday morning. Tropical storm warnings were in place for the Bahamas, the US National Hurricane Center said in its 5pm EDT (21:00 GMT) advisory.

CHICAGO - Those with ties to Puerto Rico and the Cubs franchise are doing their part of help the island after a pair of destructive hurricanes over the past month.

Rainfall of up to 50 centimetres was expected on the Turks and Caicos islands.

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Maria looked unlikely to hit the continental United States but its storm swells will reach the southeastern coast from Friday, the NHC said. Buses were trying to evacuate people from the area "as quickly as they can", the service said.

A new and prolonged disaster sealift to the islands is inevitable, to bring in resources for clearing wreckage and the first task of restoring the Puerto Rico and USVI power grids.

More than 95 percent of wireless cell sites were not working on Thursday afternoon on the island, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission said. It struck as a Category 5 storm on Monday, ripping foliage off plants and obliterating the island's vital agricultural sector.

Some of the island's 3.4 million people planned to head to the USA to temporarily escape the devastation.

The man has not been named and the coastguard said his body has not been recovered.

Puerto Rican authorities are permanently guarding and monitoring the Guajataca Dam, which is located in the northwest of the island, after it suffered serious damage from Hurricane Maria.

Earlier Friday, Puerto Rico's public safety officer Héctor M. Pesquera said at least six people had died in the storm, but stressed these were official numbers that did not include all of the storm-related deaths.

More than two months remain in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

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