San Juan / Washington (AP) - In the face of approaching tropical storm "Dorian", the US government has declared a state of emergency over its outskirts Puerto Rico. This gives the island access to federal assistance and funding in the event that the storm causes significant damage.

According to forecasts by the US climate agency NOAA, "Dorian" could hit the Caribbean island on Wednesday or sail just short of it and other islands of the Greater Antilles northwest to Florida.

With the measure signed by US President Donald Trump, federal agencies such as the Civil Protection Authority (FEMA) are coordinating the protection measures for the population, public health and safety. The NOAA believed that "Dorian" could gain even more strength and become a hurricane before hitting Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is an associated Free State of the US, its approximately 3.2 million inhabitants are US citizens. Popular with cruise tourists, the island is often exposed to storms during the hurricane season. Especially devastating was the hurricane "Maria" hit in September 2017. Nearly 3000 deaths were attributed to the storm in retrospect. For months, the Puerto Ricans also suffered from power outages and interrupted drinking water supplies.

NOAA to Dorian