Fajardo (Puerto Rico) (AFP)

The island of Puerto Rico was relatively spared Wednesday by Hurricane Dorian, which is expected to strengthen before touching this weekend Florida, where the state of emergency was declared.

Heavy rains caused by dangerous winds hit Puerto Rico, a territory devastated by Hurricane Maria two years ago, but the hurricane began to move away from the island according to the National Hurricane Center ( NHC) that has withdrawn its alert for the territory.

Puerto Rico's governor Wanda Vazquez announced at a press conference that schools and local governments would normally reopen on Thursday, calling the hurricane a "real drill" to assess the island's ability to respond to this type of storm. of disaster.

"The threat has already passed," she said.

Dorian, with winds of 130km / h, is now a category 1 hurricane, out of the five on the Saffir-Simpson scale. It is expected to strengthen in the coming days and should cause significant rainfall in the Caribbean, said the NHC in its latest bulletin, 00:00 GMT.

The state of Florida on Wednesday declared a state of emergency in the run-up to the hurricane to ensure that it is "fully prepared for Hurricane Dorian," Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. residents of the east coast to "have food, water and medicine for seven days".

The declaration of state of emergency makes it possible to better mobilize the public services of the State and to resort if necessary to the federal aid.

Dorian made a first indirect victim in Puerto Rico. An 80-year-old man died while falling from a ladder on which he planned to repair his roof, while the first gusts swept the east of the island under a dark sky.

The arrival of Dorian awakened painful memories of Carmen Donos, a resident of Fajardo, one of the cities most affected by Maria in September 2017. "I had lost everything in the house. I'm afraid it will happen again, "she worried.

President Donald Trump approved the Puerto Rico emergency declaration on Tuesday night, allowing the release of federal relief funds, coordinated by the US Federal Emergency Agency Fema.

- "Incompetent" or "corrupt" -

"The Fema and all the others are ready, and will do a great job, and when they do, let them know and thank them warmly - not like the last time," the Republican billionaire had tweeted. taking in particular the "incompetent" mayor of San Juan, capital of the island.

The latter, Carmen Yulin Cruz, a regular critic of the president, asked her on the CNN channel to "stay away" from Puerto Rico.

She accuses Donald Trump of having lied "once again" by saying in a tweet Tuesday that the United States had validated last year a "record" envelope of $ 92 billion to help the island to recover damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

According to the Fema website, the US Congress has actually allocated $ 42.5 billion in aid to the territory, which has so far received only 14.

"Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places in the world, their political system is in shambles and their leaders are either incompetent or corrupt," Donald Trump assured on Twitter on Wednesday, claiming to be "the best thing ever to have happened. in Puerto Rico ".

A study, validated by the Puerto Rican authorities, estimates that 3,000 people were killed by Hurricane Maria and its repercussions, the health infrastructures having been permanently put out of service.

© 2019 AFP