Living conditions in hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico are growing worse by the day, with tired, bewildered people lining up to buy scarce fuel and food Sunday amid a blackout and little to no telephone service.
Puerto Ricans are spending hours waiting in line to buy whatever they can, but often go home empty-handed if they do not manage a purchase before a dusk to dawn curfew takes effect.
Cell phone service is spotty at best and hotels are also running out of diesel fuel for their generators.
The general manager of a Marriott hotel in the capital San Juan told guests that if they did not find diesel by Sunday night, the entire building would be evacuated.
Hurricane Maria slammed the US island territory before dawn Wednesday as a category 4 storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale, as part of a vicious and deadly tear through the Caribbean.
The storm is blamed for 33 deaths, many of them on the tiny and poor island of Dominica and 13 in Puerto Rico.
Authorities are also trying to evacuate people living downriver from a dam said to be in danger of collapsing because of flooding from the hurricane.
The 1920's era earthen dam on the Guajataca River in northwest Puerto Rico cracked on Friday, prompting the government to issue an order for mass evacuations in downstream towns.
A Puerto Rican government official said the damage had sent water gushing through and prompted fears of flash flooding.
Puerto Rico was already battling dangerous floods elsewhere on the island because of Hurricane Maria, which Governor Ricardo Rossello has called the most devastating storm to hit the island in a century.
Of the 13 victims in Puerto Rico, eight died in the northern town of Toa Baja, one of the worst-hit areas which was ravaged by winds of more than 125 miles per hour and then hit by flooding when the island's largest river, La Plata, burst its banks.
Marina Montalbo, a 36-year-old secretary from Isabela, was trying to rest in a shelter with her husband and her 11-month-old baby.
"They made us evacuate. It was a really difficult thing to have to do," she said, sobbing. "We just had to get out; they were screaming that we had to get out."
Across the island, streets were littered with debris from the storm, with toppled trees, street signs and power cables strewn everywhere.
The torrential rain also turned some roads into muddy brown rivers, impassable to all but the largest of vehicles.
Puerto Rico's electricity network has been crippled by the storm and engineers say it could take months for power to be fully restored.
The US cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Sacramento have all been rattled by large earthquakes 1.5 magnitude or greater in the past day.
The largest quake measured 2.6 magnitude and struck 4.30am local time at a depth of 23km near Tuolumne City, around 213km from San Francisco.
Eleven of the tremors were over 2.0 magnitude, while the rest were between 1.0 to 2.0 magnitude, according to Earthquake Track.
Although relatively small, the wave of earthquakes will entrench fears that a massive tremor measuring 7.0 or above could strike the region.
Scientists believe the US state is overdue a “big one” magnitude 7 or over earthquake by around 50 years.
Last week a magnitude 3.6 earthquake rattled northwest Los Angeles after striking in the Santa Monica mountains.
It struck in the same week a colossal 7.1 magnitude virtually flattened Mexico City, causing widespread damage and killing more than 300.
Over the weekend Mexico was shaken by more quakes, including a 6.2 tremor that caused people to flee their homes.
Since then experts have issued warnings that a powerful earthquake akin to the one that hit Mexico is “inevitable”.
Natural disaster expert Matthew Blackett, of Coventry University, said the system causing the Mexico earthquakes is similar to the one in California.
“It's a different system,” he said. “But the system that is causing these quakes in Mexico is by and large similar to what's happening in California.”
Colliding tectonic plates are causing the earthquakes on both continents, which sit in a tremor disaster zone known as the Ring of Fire.
An 800-mile fissure that runs almost the length of California is thought to be the cause for most concern.
Over the past 150 years, pressure has been building up along the San Andreas fault that experts believe could unleash the next “big one”.
Robert Graves, researcher for the US Geological Survey, said: “In some cases, the time separation between quakes is as short as 60 years, and in others it is around 300 years.
“This variability is one reason that makes forecasting when the next quake will occur quite difficult.”
But “it will happen sometime”, he added.
The country's Geohazards Department on Saturday raised its alert for Ambae from level three to four, which is classified as a "moderate eruption state." According to a department spokesperson, the volcano's activity had not changed on Monday, with no increase nor decrease in the intensity of the eruption.