Hurricane Maria, the most powerful storm to hit Puerto Rico in more than 80 years, struck the island just as life was beginning to return to normal in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.  Now, the entire island is without power, and law enforcement has been struggling to maintain order.

Many roads have been rendered impassable by fallen trees, buildings, and other debris.

Unfortunately, the worst is far from over, with 70,000 residents being urged to evacuate the northwest region of the island as the Guajataca Dam is, according to the National Weather Service, in “imminent” danger of failing.  For those outside the danger zone surrounding the dam, survival remains a challenge, with some officials predicting that it may take as much as a year to restore power to the 3.5 million Americans living on the island.

Residents take to the streets, with downed power lines nearby.

According to a statement released by the governor on social media, there have already been 14 confirmed deaths, though large-scale flooding has limited emergency personnel’s ability to conduct search and rescue operations.  The final death toll is now expected to be much higher.  The current priority, according to officials, is to “reestablish airports,” in order to receive incoming aid from the mainland United States.

Flooded streets and a lack of communications have hindered search and rescue operations throughout the island.

Streets that are not flooded are often blocked, not only by fallen trees, but by the debris of collapsed buildings and torn off rooftops.  Many of the buildings the remain standing have suffered significant damage, making them unsafe to enter, and a continuing danger to residents in the area.