Puerto Rico is a travel and tourism destination, and it has been a disaster zone. According to US president trump when praising federal relieve work after the devastating hurricane cut the US territory out from electricity for many months. According to the president, he pointed out thanks to speedy actions only 16 people died in Puerto Rico.
This was later corrected at 64 after Puerto Rico authorities released the official number pending scientific review.
Now in a report to US Congress this number of 64 was “adjust” to more than 1400.
The government, relying on updated statistics it first reported in June, said in a report to Congress detailing a $139 billion reconstruction plan that there were 1,427 more deaths from September to December 2017 than the average for the same time period over the previous four years.
The territory’s government said that the additional deaths resulted from the effects of a storm that led to a “cascading failures” in infrastructure across the island of 3.3 million people.
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. Public Safety Department Secretary Hector Pesquera said the new total will reflect the findings of the investigation, which is expected in the coming weeks.
The figure of more than 1,400, Pesquera said, “is simple math” based on the number of excess deaths. “This is not the official number of deaths attributable to Hurricane Maria,” he said.
Hurricane Maria, which came just two weeks after Hurricane Irma passed near enough to cause damage to the island, knocked out power and water across Puerto Rico and caused widespread flooding that left many sick and elderly people unable to get medical treatment.
The use of the higher death toll in the report to Congress was first reported Thursday by The New York Times.
Government agencies have used various methods to count storm deaths over the years, with authorities generally trying to sort them into direct and indirect to include people whose deaths are tied to a natural disaster without necessarily being obviously caused by it.
New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who was born in Puerto Rico, has called for legislation that would establish federal standards for death counts after a disaster. “It has been tragically clear for some time that the devastation from Irma and Maria was many magnitudes worse than the official death toll suggested,” she told ABC News.