The Puerto Rico government was required on Tuesday to release its information on all deaths since Hurricane Maria, which had hit the island on Sept. 20, 2017, and left thousands dead.
Attempts to stall: Elements in the Puerto Rican government moved on Monday to stop the release of these records, which have been requested by CNN and the Center for Investigative Journalism. The motion was rejected by a local court on Tuesday, and the government will be required to share its database with the two news outlets.
The death toll discrepancy: The reason the release of the information has been mired in controversy is the gross discrepancy between the initial government reports on the deaths caused by the hurricane and the actual death toll, as revealed by later studies.
At first, the government reported 64 deaths in total. Currently, estimates are closer to 5,000, which is more than 70 times the original estimate.
Moreover, the storm has had long-term ramifications -- including injuries and diseases, as well as damage to property and infrastructure -- that may have driven the numbers even higher.
CNN and the CIJ are hoping to look at the government data in order to clear up the picture and properly asses the magnitude of the tragedy.