“We still don’t have a lot of information,” Puerto Rico’s Gov. Ricardo Rosselló told CNN Wednesday night. “We’re virtually disconnected in terms of communications with the southeast part of the island.”
Here’s a breakdown of the impact (so far) by the numbers:
At least 15 deaths have been reported so far as a result of Maria. That number is expected to grow as recovery efforts proceed.
That’s both the population of Puerto Rico and the number of people currently without power. Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s already fragile electrical grid, cutting off power to 100 percent of the island.
It could take up to six months for Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the island’s sole energy service provider, to restore power. (Complicating matters, the power authority is around $9 billion in debt.)
80 ― 90 Percent
Carlos Mercader, a spokesman for Puerto Rico’s governor, told PBS that in the hardest hit communities on the island, almost all of the houses have been destroyed. “80 or 90 percent of the homes are a complete disaster,” he said. “They are totally lost.”
Some 12,500 people fled their homes to ride out the storm in one of Puerto Rico’s 500 shelters. Given the extent of the damage to homes, Mercader said he expects many people will be forced to live out of the shelters for weeks to come.
That was Maria’s sustained windspeed when it made landfall as a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning, just shy of being considered a Category 5 storm, the strongest on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale.
Hurricane Maria was the first Category 4 storm to hit the island since 1932, and the strongest since a Category 5 storm hit Puerto Rico in 1928.
The amount of debt the economically troubled U.S. territory had before the storm, not including an additional $50 billion in pension liabilities.
The amount of damage already inflicted on Puerto Rico by Hurricane Irma, which skirted the island just two weeks ago.
The woefully small size of Puerto Rico’s emergency fund.