Hector Retamal | AFP | Getty Images
Trees are toppled in a parking lot at Roberto Clemente Coliseum in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on September 20, 2017, during the passage of the Hurricane Maria.
Hurricane Maria barreled toward the Turks and Caicos on Friday after lashing Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands with winds and rain that destroyed homes, flooded streets, devastated economies and left at least 32 people dead.
Maria is the second major hurricane to hit the Caribbean this month and the strongest storm to hit the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico in nearly 90 years. It knocked out the island’s power and several rivers hit record flood levels.
At least 15 people were killed in Puerto Rico, El Nuevo Día newspaper reported.
Fourteen deaths were reported on the island nation of Dominica, which has a population of about 71,000. Two others were killed in the French territory of Guadeloupe and one on the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The death toll in the Caribbean is likely to rise when searches resume at daybreak.
Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew through Saturday for the island’s 3.4 million people.
“If it is not an emergency situation, people should remain in their homes or shelters,” he was quoted as saying by El Nuevo Día.
Among those killed in Puerto Rico were eight people who drowned in Toa Baja, about 20 miles (32 km) west of San Juan, Mayor Bernardo Márquez told the newspaper.
More than 4,000 people were rescued from flooded areas of Toa Baja, he was quoted as saying.
Three elderly sisters were killed by a mudslide on Wednesday in the mountainous central municipality of Utuado, El Nuevo Día said, citing relatives and the mayor of Utuado.
In the heart of the island’s capital San Juan, which has a fort and buildings from the Spanish colonial era, the storm left a trail of wreckage. Toppled trees cut power lines and streets were turned into rivers.
U.S. President Donald Trump told reporters the island had been “totally obliterated” and he planned to visit.
Puerto Rico was already facing the largest municipal debt crisis in U.S. history.
A team of judges overseeing its bankruptcy has advised involved parties to put legal proceedings on hold indefinitely as the island recovers, said a source familiar with the proceedings.