Puerto Rico, which has been suffering the second-largest blackout in history since Hurricane Maria made landfall back in September 2017, is now completely without power. On Wednesday, the island nation’s misfortunes took a turn for the worse when, per the Associated Press, the entire country was hit by an island-wide blackout. According to Electric Power Authority spokesperson Yohari Molina, crews are currently investigating the cause of the massive blackout. CBS News later added that a fault was detected in a line in Puerto Rico’s Central Aguirre, which is located on the southern coast.
CNN subsequently confirmed the AP’s initial report, noting that the United States Commonwealth’s struggle to fully restore power and other basic essentials marked it as the worst long-term power outage in American history. As for its all-time second place status, experts estimate that Puerto Rico’s ongoing power loss (3.4 billion lost hours of electricity) is fast approaching the current record holder, Typhoon Haiyan, which devastated Southeast Asia and the Philippines in 2013 with a whopping 6.1 billion hours lost.
The current island-wide blackout means that airports, hospitals, and other necessary and basic means are all without power in Puerto Rico. Considering what recent studies determined about the federal government’s response (President Trump focused more of his efforts on Texas and the Gulf Coast, while FEMA largely remained silent), that power had not been fully restored before Wednesday’s complete outage isn’t all that surprising. Before the blackout, 40,000 Puerto Rican customers were still without power since Hurricane Maria made landfall seven months ago.