Cuomo Headed To Puerto Rico For Relief Efforts After Hurricane Maria

ALBANY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo will be headed to Puerto Rico on the first available flight to help with relief efforts after Hurricane Maria.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló on Thursday asked Cuomo for goods and services to aid in recovery efforts through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact, Cuomo’s office said.

Thus, Cuomo will be heading to Puerto Rico as early as Friday morning along with specialists crucial to helping Puerto Rico restore its devastated power system, Cuomo’s office said. In addition, New York will deliver numerous emergency supplies on a plane donated by JetBlue, Cuomo’s office said.

The New York Power Authority is also sending 10 engineers, planners, technical supervisors and translators, along with drones and two drone pilots from the Department of Environmental Conservation, to help with power restoration, Cuomo’s office said.

Cuomo has also ordered the New York Army National Guard to be on standby to help in recovery efforts in the coming days.

“New York is home to more Puerto Ricans than any other state in the country, and our hearts break for our Puerto Rican brothers and sisters as they begin to rebuild after the unimaginable devastation of Hurricane Maria,” Cuomo said in a news release. “We are sending requested resources and personnel to help the island rebuild, and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the Puerto Rican community in their time of need.”

Maria slammed into the U.S. territory Wednesday, crushing concrete balconies and paralyzing the island with landslides, flooding and downed trees. It was the strongest storm to hit the island in more than 80 years.

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On Thursday afternoon, Puerto Rico was in rescue and recovery mode. Survivors were without power and running water.

Crews in Puerto Rico began their rescues before dawn, one by one, bringing out the many still stranded in their badly damaged homes. Some of the areas hardest hit in Puerto Rico are barely recognizable. Officials say it could take months to rebuild.

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Maria, which hit the island as a Category 4, completely knocked out the island’s power grid — so the only power is coming from generators and car batteries.

The more than 3 million residents of the island were also pummeled with life threatening winds of 155 mph. Windows were blown out of buildings and appliances ripped from walls.

Maria dumped about 20 inches of rain on the island, which was already suffering from the aftermath of hurricane Irma.

As of Thursday afternoon, one person was reported dead after being hit in the head with a wooden plank.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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