Puerto Rico concedes Hurricane Maria deaths more than 1,400

09 August, 2018, 21:11 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Mother Isamar holds her baby Saniel 9 months at their makeshift home under reconstruction after being mostly destroyed by Hurricane Maria

The admission comes in a report the Puerto Rican government prepared last month and is expected to submit to Congress Thursday requesting $139 billion in aid.

Prior to this report, the government's official storm death toll was 64.

Hurricane Maria, as well as Hurricane Irma two weeks later, knocked out power and water to the island and caused widespread flooding that left many sick and elderly people unable to get medical treatment. Puerto Rican officials said 64 people probably died from Maria itself, but after comparing death statistics from 2016 and 2017, they've estimated that 1,427 died because of the lasting effects the storm had on the island's infrastructure, economy and access to vital resources.

The island's government conceded this news in a report filed to Congress earlier this week.


A New York Times investigation said it was likely at least 1,000 Puerto Ricans were killed by the storm in the US territory.

Most of the deaths occurred not in the initial storm on September 20, but in the ensuing days and weeks when the island-wide electricity outage and roads blocked by downed power lines and other debris made it hard to move around and emergency services were stretched beyond their capabilities.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said Puerto Rico's original death toll of 64 was "insulting to our collective intelligence".

With doubts that the government accurately counted the number of deaths following the storm, experts have done numerous studies to calculate the number of lives that were actually claimed by Maria.

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