Puerto Rico cites Hurricane Maria death toll of 1,427 in damage report

Lester Mason
August 9, 2018

Less than two weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, President Donald Trump took to the island to praise the federal officials in charge of the recovery efforts and declare they could be "proud" that the death toll had climbed to just 16 people.

The admission was made in a report to Congress filed last week seeking $139billion to help the island recover from last year's devastating storm. 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.

The report submitted to the US government earlier this week was part of a $139 billion reconstruction plan for Puerto Rico.

People walk in a flooded street next to damaged houses in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017.

The administration of Gov. Ricardo Rossello stopped updating its official death toll months ago and ordered an investigation amid reports that the number was substantially undercounted.

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. But they have long publicly said that far more people died due to indirect effects of the powerful storm.

According to Associate Press, the government has commissioned an academic study that's expected to pinpoint a new, more exact body count.

That quiet acknowledgement was first reported Thursday by The New York Times.

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.

Maria swept over island on September 20, causing extensive flooding and knocking out power.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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