Puerto Rico Concedes That Hurricane Maria Killed Over 1,400 People, Not 64

Blanche Robertson
August 9, 2018

As relief workers and residents continue their efforts to fix the damages, government officials in San Juan say that the body count from the storm goes far beyond the official death toll of 64.

For the first time since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico almost 11 months ago, the USA territory's government has conceded that the monster storm was responsible for hundreds of deaths on the island.

"Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher", it said in the report.

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

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

It's been nearly a year since Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean and caused catastrophic devastation throughout Puerto Rico. Only the San Ciriaco hurricane of August 1899 was deadlier, with an official estimate of 3,369 killed.

In a report to Congress dated Wednesday, the USA commonwealth's government says documents show that 1,427 more deaths occurred in the four months after the storm than "normal", compared with deaths that occurred the previous four years.

But a more exact number has been a matter of debate that the government has sought to end by commissioning an academic study due out in coming weeks.

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