Hurricane Maria barrelled toward the Turks and Caicos on Friday after lashing Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands with winds and rain.

Maria is the second major hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month and the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in almost 90 years.

It, however, destroyed homes, caused flooding, devastated economies and left no fewer than 32 people dead.

It knocked out the island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels.

Local media reported that no fewer than 15 people were killed in Puerto Rico.

Fourteen deaths were reported on the island nation of Dominica, which has a population of about 71,000.

Two others were killed in the French territory of Guadeloupe and one on the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The death toll in the Caribbean is likely to rise when searches resume at daybreak.

Puerto Rico Governor, Ricardo Rossello, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew through Saturday for the island’s 3.4 million people.

“If it is not an emergency situation, people should remain in their homes or shelters,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

Mayor Bernardo Márquez also told newsmen that among those killed in Puerto Rico were eight people who drowned in Toa Baja, about 32 km west of San Juan.

“More than 4,000 people were rescued from flooded areas of Toa Baja,’’ he was quoted as saying.

The local media added that three elderly sisters were killed by a mudslide on Wednesday in the mountainous central municipality of Utuado, citing relatives and the mayor of Utuado.


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