Devastated Puerto Rico struggles without power, water, phones

6 ways this hurricane season is different

The 27-member team will take a military plane to the US territory and is waiting for details on when their plane will take off. The state is also sending drinking water, ready-to-eat meals, electrical generators and other supplies.

He visited Texas, Louisiana and Florida in the wake of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, but he had not yet travelled to Puerto Rico, though he has said he plans to make the trip.

Forecasters say Hurricane Maria is causing risky surf and rip currents along the East Coast of the USA after the storm devastated Puerto Rico.

"This is going to be a long and frustrating process for everybody".

"I need to get there today", Mayor Oscar Santiago said.

A dam is in danger of collapsing, adding to the crisis. Still, he acknowledged that based on the volume of power outages, it would be some time before people in Puerto Rico would be able to communicate with people outside the island.

"Federal partners are aggressively working to meet and overcome challenges to opening ports and restoring power to bring additional life-saving commodities and personnel into disaster-affected areas", the Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a statement.

Maria struck Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale as the island was already facing the largest municipal debt crisis in United States history. "We don't know how long it's going to hold". "The structure has been significantly compromised".

Maj. Gen. Derek P. Rydholm, deputy to the chief of the Air Force Reserve, said at the Pentagon that it was impossible to say when communication and power will be restored.

South Caicos prepares itself for Hurricane Maria.

In San Juan, Neida Febus wandered around her neighborhood with bowls of cooked rice, ground meat and avocado, offering food to the hungry.

A limited number of flights have been coming into Orlando International Airport, and a lot of others have been canceled because of conditions on the island of Puerto Rico. The damage was so extensive, the 64-year-old retiree said, that she didn't think the electricity would be turned back on until Christmas.

Because of Maria, at least 31 lives in all have been lost around the Caribbean, including at least 15 on hard-hit Dominica. She says she flew to Puerto Rico a week ago for a vacation and spent three days in peace before the storm.

A Tropical storm warning is in effect for sections of the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the central Bahamas.

Information for this article was contributed by Michael Biesecker, Catherine Lucey, Matthew Daly and Danica Coto of The Associated Press.

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