Puerto Rico increases Hurricane Maria death toll to 2975

02 September, 2018, 01:17 | Author: Gregory Stephens
  • San Juan mayor People died from neglect

Officials in Puerto Rico recently accepted the findings of an independent investigation which revealed close to 3,000 people died from Hurricane Maria, a significant increase from the previous estimate of 64.

The new estimate of almost 3,000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

A study commissioned by the territory's government and released on Tuesday found that the storm caused about 2,975 deaths, not 64 as counted previously.

Researchers tracked the number of deaths using death certificates and other mortality data between mid-September 2017 to mid-February of this year.

Researchers attributed undercounting of storm-related deaths to poor communications and the lack of well-established guidelines and training for physicians on how to certify deaths in major disasters. They also said FEMA's support was unequal compared to how it aided victims of other US hurricanes in 2017.

Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, who asked for the research following criticism of the American territory's low death count, said his government accepts the new numbers and wants to learn from the crisis.

Quinones said she was in Puerto Rico three weeks ago. He said he can not order the government "to do that which in a humanitarian and caring world should be done".


"I think we did a fantastic job in Puerto Rico", Trump told reporters at the White House in response to a question about the new study of deaths.

A federal judge ruled on Thursday that temporary housing given to hundreds of Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria will end in September.

For comparison, the death toll from 2005's Hurricane Katrina - the costliest hurricane in U.S. history - was far lower, and estimated at 1,833.

Puerto Rico has struggled to fix its infrastructure and power grid since the storm, and is asking US Congress for $139bn (£108bn) in recovery funds. They also took into account an 8 percent drop in Puerto Rico's population in the six months after the storm, when tens of thousands fled because of the damage.

"We have now a container overcrowded with, you know, these dead bodies", said Quinones. The doctors they interviewed said they were not aware of those guidelines.

"Especially between November and December, we were very concerned". "If enacted, the recommendations of this report could help save lives in Puerto Rico and beyond".

The study also found that government emergency plans in place when Maria hit were not designed for hurricanes greater than a Category 1.

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