FRONTLINE: Blackout in Puerto Rico More than seven months after Hurricane Maria devastated the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico, more than 100,000 Americans are still without power, as part of the worst blackout in U.S. history.
FRONTLINE and NPR investigate how the federal response in Puerto Rico left millions of Americans in the dark for months - and the storm before the storm: how Wall Street, Puerto Rico's government, and Washington fueled a debt crisis that left the island's economy in ruins and its infrastructure crippled even before Maria hit. The investigative team uncovered a trove of insider documents that show a government relief effort in chaos, struggling with key contracts, basic supplies, and its own workforce.
The film, produced with the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, uncovers a series of shortcomings after Maria, including how half of FEMA's staff on the island were trainees or unqualified, how contractors FEMA turned to failed to deliver hundreds of thousands of tarps, and how the Army Corps' temporary roof repair program was glaringly slow compared to other storms - putting up just 439 roofs in the first 30 days after the storm compared to more than 4,500 in the first month after Irma in Florida.
Underpinning it all, Blackout in Puerto Rico delves into Wall Street's role in the island's economic demise - a crisis that left it dangerously vulnerable to a storm like Maria - and the relationship between Puerto Rico and the U.S., including how Congress's withdrawal of a special tax break helped spur the Puerto Rican government's cycle of debt and borrowing.
Gripping and riveting, Blackout in Puerto Rico is a must-watch look inside the ongoing recovery effort in Puerto Rico - and the economic crisis that devastated the island long before Maria.
Producer: Rick Young
Production Company: American University School of Communication’s Investigative Reporting Workshop; National Public Radio
Production Year: 2018
Copyright Year: 2018
Host: Laura Sullivan, Emma Schwartz, Kate McCormick
Writers: Rick Young
Subtitle Language: English
Language track: English
Audio Format: Stereo
Aspect Ratio: 16x9 Widescreen