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Thousands Evacuated Amid ‘Imminent’ Puerto Rico Dam Collapse

Authorities in Puerto Rico ordered tens of thousands of residents to evacuate late Friday over fears a major dam was on the verge of collapsing in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Officials said more than 70,000 residents living near a river valley below the Guajataca Dam could be swept away by floodwaters if they don’t leave the area. The National Weather Service warned that the dam’s collapse was “imminent” and would lead to a “life-threatening situation.” Abner Gomez, the executive director of Puerto Rico's emergency management agency, told The Washington Post late Friday that Hurricane Maria damaged the gates to the dam and “there is no way to fix” the problems while waters continue to rise. “Thousands of people could die” if the dam fails, he said. Residents in the municipalities of Quebradillas, Isabela and part of San Sebastian were ordered out. At least six people have been confirmed dead after Hurricane Maria battered the island earlier this week, with authorities warning the death toll may rise as the damage assessment continues.