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US government satellite image shows Puerto Rico blackout

Satellite images show night in Puerto Rico Image copyright Twitter @NOAASatellites

Millions of people in Puerto Rico remain without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Maria, a new image taken by a US government satellite shows.

Outside the capital city San Juan, residents are still isolated without power or communications, and it may take months to restore, officials warn.

Clean water and medicine are also scarce, locals residents report.

The island’s governor warned on Monday of a “humanitarian crisis occurring in America”, and called for more aid.

“Puerto Rico is part of the United States, and we need to take swift action,” Governor Ricardo Rossello told CNN.

“This is a major disaster,” he added, calling on the US Congress to produce “something tangible, a bill that actually answers to our need right now”.

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Media captionHeavy rainfall from Hurricane Maria put stress on the Guajataca Dam

The island, which is more than $72 billion in debt, is facing the largest bankruptcy case in US history.

Gov Rossello warned that lawmakers’ failure to address the lack of funding would produce an “exodus” of Puerto Ricans fleeing to the United States.

Image copyright Getty Images

Republican Speaker of the House, the highest ranking member of his party in Congress, tweeted on Monday: “The stories and images coming out of Puerto Rico are devastating.

“Congress is working with the administration to ensure necessary resources get to our fellow citizens in #PuertoRico.”

Image copyright Getty Images

A curfew from is in place to discourage looting and vandalism, and 25 people were arrested on Sunday night for violating the order.

More than 95% of mobile phones are without service on the island, where National Guardsman have been prioritising the reopening of ports and airports, to allow more aid to arrive.

Adding to the difficulty, some roads are inaccessible and bridges around the island have collapsed, making it nearly impossible to verify the full extent of the damage.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Guajataca Dam in northwest Puerto Rico is in “imminent” danger of rupturing, causing “life-threatening flash flooding” to at least 8,000 people, emergency crews said on Friday.

Residents below the dam have been instructed by the National Guard to evacuate.

On Sunday, US Marine and Navy teams arrived in to Roosevelt Rhoades, Puerto Rico – three days after the storm made landfall as a category 4 hurricane, killing at least 13 people.

Image copyright Getty Images

The newly arriving teams will “conduct route reconnaissance, clearance of main roads and clearance of the airfield and associated taxiways”, the Pentagon said in a statement on Monday, amid public criticism that the US had not done enough to respond to the widespread destruction.

The Pentagon added that the top priority is to “provide life-saving and life sustaining resources” – such as generators and fuel – to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

The White House defended the government response on Monday. Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said “we’ve done unprecedented movement in terms of federal funding to provide for the people of Puerto Rico”.

“The federal response has been anything but slow,” Ms Sanders added.

The heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) and the Department of Homeland Security are visiting both island territories on Monday, and US President Donald Trump has vowed to visit at a later date.

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Media captionHurricane Maria: Puerto Rico faces long road to recovery

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