Custom Search 1

Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico death toll rises to 2,975

DEVASTATION: Dominica was also hit by Hurricane Maria last year

THE OFFICIAL number of people who died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria has risen from 64 to 2,975.

Officials in the Caribbean country made the announcement almost a year following the disaster devastated the island.

The huge increase in the death toll was a result of the findings from research conducted by George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. The study was commissioned by Ricardo Rosello, Puerto Rico’s governor.

Rosello told journalists: “We never anticipated a scenario of zero communication, zero energy, zero highway access.

“I think the lesson is to anticipate the worst.”

Rosello said the figure was an estimate but that it had “scientific basis”.

While the initial death toll only accounted for those who died as a direct result of the hurricane – such as those who drowned or were hit by debris – the new count includes those who died in the months following the hurricane due to poor access to healthcare and sanitation.

A more accurate estimate of the number of fatalities has been called for by Puerto Ricans and campaigners.
Puerto Rico, a US territory, has asked congress for $139 billion (£108 billion) to aid recovery.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, released the following statement in response to the new death toll.

She said: “The president remains proud of all of the work the federal family undertook to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico. The devastating back-to-back hurricanes were met with the largest domestic disaster response mission in history. We are focused on Puerto Rico’s recovery and preparedness for the current hurricane season.”

A draft version of the report submitted to congress earlier this month moved the death toll to 1,427.

Read every story in our hardcopy newspaper for free by downloading the app.

Facebook Comments