Strengthening storm Dorian threatens Puerto Rico

A couple boards up the door of their beachfront house as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Yabucoa, Puerto RicoImage copyright

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A couple boards up the door of their beachfront house as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico

Hurricane Dorian, a category one storm, is bearing down on Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from its ravaging by Hurricane Maria two years ago.

US forecasters said Dorian could make landfall on the populous eastern side of the US territory on Wednesday.

Dorian is then projected to head for the US, possibly making landfall in eastern Florida as a category three hurricane.

US President Donald Trump has been criticising Puerto Rico.

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Media captionDorian threatens Puerto Rico

What’s the forecast?

The storm is packing winds of over 75mph (120 km/h) and is expected to bring up to 10in (25cm) of rain in some places.

The storm was about 25 miles south-east of the US Virgin Island of St Croix on Wednesday morning.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) says Dorian could reach wind speeds of over 100mph (160 km/h) as it approaches the eastern coast of Florida next Monday.

Schools on Puerto Rico are closed and there are fears of power cuts. Two cruise liners have adjusted their itineraries to avoid the territory.

What did President Trump say?

Late on Tuesday, President Trump approved an emergency declaration authorising federal agencies to provide disaster relief.

He also lashed out at Puerto Rico as the island hunkered down for Dorian’s approach.

In a series of tweets on Wednesday, he said the island’s government was “broken” and “corrupt”.

He added that he was “the best thing that’s ever happened to Puerto Rico”.

Carmen Yulin Cruz. mayor of the Puerto Rican capital San Juan, tweeted: “THIS IS NOT ABOUT POLITICS; THIS IS ABOUT SAVING LIVES.”

On Tuesday, Mr Trump tweeted: “Wow! Yet another big storm heading to Puerto Rico. Will it ever end?”

The president has previously faced political censure for his 2017 response to Hurricane Maria.

He rated his handling of the disaster as a “tremendous success” while disputing official findings of the spiralling death toll.

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A woman purchases bottled water from a local grocery store as Tropical Storm Dorian approaches in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

Has Puerto Rico recovered from Maria?

Some 30,000 homes in Puerto Rico still do not have proper roofs, merely tarps, according to US media.

The territory remains burdened with more than $70bn in debt – a crisis exacerbated by storms.

Nearly 3,000 of the island’s over three million residents died as a result of Maria – many due to poor healthcare and a lack of electricity and clean water.

More than 1,000 roads remain blocked by that storm’s landslides, the island’s transportation secretary has said.

It took 11 months to restore full power to the island, and recurring electricity cuts caused further deaths from diabetes and sepsis.

The storm was the most intense cyclone worldwide that year and caused an estimated $100bn (£77bn) in damage.

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Media captionWhy Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico so hard

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