Governor hikes Puerto Rico storm toll to 2,975

Governor hikes Puerto Rico storm toll to 2,975

Governor hikes Puerto Rico storm toll to 2,975

A spokesman for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello did not immediately return a message for comment.

The emergency response to Maria became highly politicized as the Trump administration was criticized as being slow to recognize the gravity of the devastation and too sluggish in providing disaster relief to Puerto Rico, an island of more than 3 million residents.

Some media and academic studies estimated the death toll at more than 1,000, and a government report to Congress conceded that there may have been 1,400 more deaths in Puerto Rico after the storm than the previous year.

"The American people, including those grieving the loss of a loved one, deserve no less".

"I'm giving an order to update the official number of deaths to 2,975", Rossello said at a press conference on Tuesday. People from all social and economic backgrounds perished in the storm, though the death count was proportionately higher for Puerto Ricans in poorer communities and elderly men, according to the report.

"That caused a number of issues", Goldman said, adding that people were forced to exert themselves physically or were exposed to intense heat without fans or air conditioning.

The Center for Investigative Journalism, Puerto Rico, in a joint project with CNN, is analyzing thousands of post-Maria death certificates to try to determine an accurate death count.

The governor of Puerto Rico has accepted the findings of a commissioned study that found the death toll from Hurricane Maria previous year was more than 46 times the official government tally.

However many people also died as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

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The new report, though, takes into account an 8 percent drop in the US territory's population after the storm as thousands of survivors left quickly for the mainland. That's nearly twice the government's previous estimate.

Original figures estimated a total of 64 deaths, but the revised death toll is almost 50 times higher. With some of the island still without power, Puerto Rico now faces into a less threatening hurricane season this year.

Researchers hope to continue their research, interviewing families of those who died to better understand how the hurricane impacted their deaths.

The team found that lack of communication, well established guidelines and lack of training for physicians on how to certify deaths in disasters, resulted in a limited number of deaths being identified as hurricane related.

For the study, the researchers reviewed mortality data from July 2010 to February 2018.

"Others expressed reluctance to relate deaths to hurricanes due to concern about the subjectivity of this determination and about liability", the report said.

Researchers said they took into account an 8 percent drop in Puerto Rico's population that occurred in the six months after the storm, when tens of thousands fled because of the damage.

Today, GW Milken Institute SPH, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health, delivered on that request. "If enacted, the recommendations of this report could help save lives in Puerto Rico and beyond".

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