Hurricane Irma strengthened into a powerful ‘Category 4’ storm on Monday, prompting both Florida and Puerto Rico to declare states of emergencies as they brace for a potential direct impact.
Florida’s Governor Rick Scott declared the state of emergency after Irma was upgraded from a ‘Category 3’ designation while forecasts watch to tell if Irma would make landfall in Florida.
The hurricane, which is forecast to strengthen on Tuesday night, is set to slam into Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center, said.
“Despite the economic challenges Puerto Rico is facing, the approved budget has 15 million dollars for the emergency fund,” Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló said.
Rosselló said the territory of some 3.4 million people has readied 456 emergency shelters, which are ready to house around 62,100 people.
Government officials instituted a price freeze on basics such as food, water, medicines, and power generators and batteries.
Hurricane Harvey made landfall in the state of Texas a week ago and has been blamed for about 50 deaths.
No fewer than 43,000 people are currently housed in shelters while 156,000 homes were reportedly affected.