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article imageEntire island of Puerto Rico suffers power outage — again

By Karen Graham     Apr 18, 2018 in World
San Juan - This year's Atlantic Hurricane season begins on June 1, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, devastated by Hurricane Maria on September 20, last year is still dealing with power outages. Only this time, the whole island was blacked-out.
We're not talking about the partial power outage that occurred last week, throwing 870,000 residents into darkness or the 10,000+ people who have been without water since September last year, or even the over 100,000 people who are still waiting to get power after seven long months.
Every single power customer on the U.S. territory is without power, NPR's Adrian Florido reports from San Juan. More than 3 million people are affected. It's the first total blackout since Hurricane Maria.
According to David Begnaud, who has been covering Puerto Rico for CBS News, a fault on a line 50700, starting in the historic district of Aguirre Central, located in the southern part of the island, caused the blackout. CNN is reporting the blackout on the line was caused by an excavator operated by a contractor.
The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) tweeted that it expects the current island-wide blackout to last 24-36 hours. They said the first priority is to get power back to hospitals and clinics, and then Luis Muñoz Marín Airport, Gas stations, banking centers, shops and residences.
David Begnaud
An ongoing problem with no resolution
Such a huge blackout doesn't just come out of nowhere, though. Governor Ricardo Rosselló set a goal last October to have 95 percent of the island's power restored by December 2017. Today, 16 percent of the island is still without power, affecting 100,000 to 200,000 residents.
However, with over 80 percent of the island's electrical infrastructure destroyed during the hurricane, and an electrical company being accused of corruption and wastefulness, and ongoing efforts to get the company privatized, it is no wonder progress has been slow.
President Trump also had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey  Irma and Maria -- facing c...
President Trump also had to deal with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria -- facing criticism for the government's response in Puerto Rico
As Vox pointed out in January, President Donald Trump and his administration have largely avoided drawing attention to the abysmal situation in our island territory.
And perhaps, it will come as no surprise that no one in the Trump administration talks about the breakdown in the delivery of other resources to the island. One glaring example - FEMA's contractor, Atlanta-based Tribute Contracting failed to deliver millions of meals before it stopped distributing emergency food and water entirely last year, according to Reuters in February.
But the real, and ongoing tragedy is the lack of response shown by the current administration to a dire situation involving American citizens. It is interesting to read some of the tweets coming from Twitter users - like Denizcan James, who tweeted: "America spent 224 million dollars bombing Syria. Puerto Rico still doesn't have electricity. And Flint still doesn't have clean water."
Maureen Johnson tweeted: "All of Puerto Rico just lost power. What are we doing for our fellow Americans?" Ken Olin had a question for Mr. Trump, tweeting: "Mr. President - Shouldn’t we be helping Puerto Rico?"
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