SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico’s government said on Saturday that a curfew imposed after a powerful hurricane devastated the Caribbean island earlier this week will be extended indefinitely to facilitate the recovery effort.
After the hurricane battered that United States commonwealth on Wednesday, Gov. Ricardo Rossello instituted a nighttime curfew, initially saying it would be in effect until at least Saturday.
“We’ve extended the curfew indefinitely for the hours of 7 pm to 5 am,” the governor wrote Saturday on Twitter.
He said in a message to the island’s inhabitants via WAPA radio that the measure would be adopted until the emergency phase of the recovery effort has concluded, saying the goal was to ensure that local inhabitants do not obstruct roadways and that emergency and clean-up vehicles can move freely.
Multiple incidents of looting have occurred at supermarkets and stores that sustained hurricane damage.
In his address, the governor sought to allay widespread fears about fuel shortages.
“Be patient. There’s fuel. There’s gasoline. There’s diesel. It’s not true that (supplies) have run out. Resources will arrive,” Rossello said.
He added that gasoline was not reaching service stations because many tanker trucks were stranded in remote areas that had been cut off by the hurricane.
Maria, which made landfall in southeastern Puerto Rico as a Category 4 hurricane and then carved a southeast-to-northwest path of destruction through the island, left at least seven dead, according to figures from Rossello’s administration.
Municipal sources, however, put the death toll at more than a dozen.
The hurricane devastated the US commonwealth’s electrical grid and knocked out power across the island, while only 25 percent of the population has water service, several towns remain cut off and others remain flooded.