Puerto Rico: Hurricane Maria killed at least 15 people and 20 others are missing after it hit Dominica, the Caribbean island’s prime minister said.
It was a miracle that the death toll was not in the hundreds, PM Roosevelt Skerri told a local television station. The hurricane had lashed Dominica on Monday as a category four storm, damaging hundreds of homes.
The storm later devastated Puerto Rico, leaving the whole island without power.
Mr Skerrit said he has spent the last 24 hours surveying by air the destruction caused by the powerful storm, reports BBC.
“It has been brutal. We’ve never seen such destruction,” he said on Thursday on the nearby island of Antigua.
Houses, school buildings were toppled down, telecommunications were cut off and the island’s main hospital is still without electricity, he said.
He added the island is “going to need all the help the world has to offer”.
Meanwhile, authorities in Puerto Rico are urging residents to seek higher ground ahead of flash flooding – with up to 30 inches (76cm) more rain predicted by Saturday – in the aftermath of Maria.
The island’s Governor Ricardo Rossello described the hurricane as “the most devastating storm in a century” and said that Maria had hit the island’s electricity grid so badly that it could take months to restore power.
Maria is the second storm to hardly hit the Caribbean this hurricane season – the first being category five Irma earlier in September.
Irma was one of the most powerful Atlantic storms on record, killing at least 84 people in the Caribbean and US.