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Crisis in Puerto Rico

A humanitarian crisis grew Saturday in Puerto Rico as towns were left without fresh water, fuel, power or phone service following Hurricane Maria's devastating passage across the island.

A group of anxious mayors arrived in the capital to meet with Gov. Ricardo Rossello to present a long list of items they urgently need. The north coastal town of Manati had run out of fuel and fresh water, Mayor Jose Sanchez Gonzalez said.

"Hysteria is starting to spread. The hospital is about to collapse. It's at capacity," he said, crying. "We need someone to help us immediately."

The death toll from Maria in Puerto Rico stood at seven after a body found in a river was reported Saturday, and the toll was likely to rise.

Authorities in the town of Vega Alta on the north coast said they had been unable to reach an entire neighbourhood called Fatima, and were particularly worried about residents of a nursing home.

"I need to get there today," Mayor Oscar Santiago told The Associated Press. "Not tomorrow, today."

Federal officials said a dam upstream of the towns of Quebradillas and Isabela in northwest Puerto Rico was cracked but had not burst by Saturday afternoon. Video from a helicopter flight showed water pouring from the Guajataca dam. Federal officials said Friday that 70,000 people were being evacuated, but Javier Jimenez, mayor of the town of San Sebastian, said he believed the number was far smaller.

He said only several hundred families were told to leave the banks of the Guajataca River. San Sebastian is to the west of the dam and outside the worst flood zone.

The discrepancy could not immediately be explained



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