Almost 3,000 deaths in Puerto Rico linked to Maria

Thousands of homes in the city of Galveston Texas were reduced to rubble by a hurricane on Sept. 8 1900

An area of Carolina, Puerto Rico is flooded on September 22, 2017, after Hurricane Maria hit the island. In fact, this study showed that the risk of dying over this period was the highest (60 percent higher than expected) for people living in the poorest municipalities - and that the elevated risk persisted beyond February 2018.

The new estimate of 2,975 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

"It's 2,975 people, and they're still calling it an estimate - 2,975 people that will never see the light of day, and many of them died because of what was done by the administration and that was silently approved by most of the political class in Puerto Rico", she claimed. In December, The Fresh York Conditions estimated 1,052 "excess deaths" occurred after Maria. They also said FEMA's support was unequal compared to how it aided victims of other US hurricanes in 2017.

The comments echoed what Trump has said in the past about the U.S. territory, as he infamously bragged just days after the storm that only "16 people [died] verses in the thousands", which he claimed was good compared to "a real catastrophe like Katrina".

Deaths blamed on Hurricane Katrina in 2005 range from about 1,200 to more than 1,800, with most along the Gulf Coast of Louisiana and Mississippi.

"These numbers are only the latest to underscore that the federal response to the hurricanes was disastrously inadequate and, as a result, thousands of our fellow American citizens lost their lives", she said in a statement.

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All jurisdictions, not only Puerto Rico and other parts of the US but also globally, should develop methods to rapidly assess total excess mortality after natural disasters and to provide that information to the public.

A study by Harvard University earlier this year estimated around 4,600 had died in the three months following the storm. He said he could not order the government to do "that which in a humanitarian and caring world should be done".

"Especially between November and December, we were very concerned".

The same thing happened with the death count and other relief efforts, said Blondet. Government officials said they had no knowledge of a coordinated plan between the health department and public safety department to report deaths. The research confirmed widespread speculation that the death toll had been underestimated, partly due to gaps in death certification. Still, they have no option, if they want to minimize the suffering and fatalities that followed Hurricane Maria.

Rossello pledged to carry out the recommendations, though there are questions about Puerto Rico's ability to do so.

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