Court: Puerto Rican Government Must Release Data on Hurricane Maria Deaths

A court ordered the Puerto Rican government to “release all death certificates issued after Hurricane Maria hit the island” this Tuesday, according to Courthouse News. The order comes after weeks of speculation that the official death toll, which currently stands at 64, is massively underreported. A Harvard University study estimated it to be closer to 4,600. The order is a response to a lawsuit filed by CNN and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism. “The information … is public by nature,” Judge Lauracelis Roques wrote. “People still don’t have a clear picture as to how many lives were lost due to a lack of food, medicine, health services or simply because of an ineffective response to an emergency. That’s why it’s urgent to shed light on all components of government preparedness and response.” The government has seven days to respond.