#Puerto Rico has been devastated by #Hurricane Maria, and the death toll has risen to 45 with possibilities of further increase. Even after three weeks, a large number of people continue to remain missing, which is a matter of concern. Clean-up efforts have started, and a more realistic figure can emerge only later as indicated by a spokeswoman for Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety.

Maria has been described as the most powerful storm to hit the island in 90 years. It struck with wind speeds of around 150 mph, uprooted trees, destroyed houses and knocked out power. Most of the island is still without #electricity and essential services have been affected.

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Thousands of people, engaged in the clean-up operations, are trying to restore normalcy.

No water or electricity

New York Daily News reports that Hurricane Maria has left most of Puerto Rico without water and electricity. These are vital for survival, and non-availability is taking its toll. In the absence of drinking water, the residents are relying on local streams and bodies of water to quench their thirst. This is having serious consequences because most of the water is contaminated. Already four deaths have been reported, and these are believed to be due to such contamination.

During an interaction with the media, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello has revealed that several persons have contracted the deadly disease. It is common in tropical locations after heavy rainfall. Obviously, the island nation is in urgent need of humanitarian aid in the form of basic amenities like medicines, drinking water, and electricity as indicated by San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin.

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According to official estimates, nearly 89% of residents do not have power, and nearly half do not any phone service. Power lines are uprooted, and roads are cluttered with debris which has restricted access to many of the affected areas. The communication network has to be revived, and the government hopes to fully restore electricity by March. It will be a long wait for the residents.

Hurricanes are natural disasters

Hurricane Maria has devastated Puerto Rico and, while weather satellites can forecast the arrival of a hurricane, they cannot forecast the extent of destruction it will leave. There will be a loss of lives and properties, and people will be displaced. Availability of basic amenities like drinking water and electricity will suffer. The frequency of hurricanes is increasing. Harvey, Irma, and Maria are three hurricanes that have struck the United States in 2017 in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively. Experts must study this phenomenon to establish whether global warming has any role to plays in such vagaries of nature.