Hurricane Maria Death Toll Much Higher Than Previously Thought

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It’s been three months since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico.

The official death toll from the storm is 64, but many are disputing this number.  Both residents and the media believe the number is actually much, much higher.

The category 4 storm devastated the island.  There was deadly flooding and damaging winds.  Nearly three and a half million people were left without power.  The blackout turned out to be the longest in U.S history, and even today only 70 percent of the power grid is back on line today.

On Monday, the governor of Puerto Rico ordered a recount of the death toll.  According to the New York Times and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism, the storm actually caused more than 1,000 deaths.

Governor Ricardo Rossello said in a statement, “This is about more than numbers, there are lives:   real people, leaving behind loved ones and families.  We always expected that the number of hurricane-related deaths would increase as we received more factual information–not hearsay–and this review will ensure we are correctly counting everybody.”

The new toll could account for deaths from “natural causes” that happened after the storm hit…  the deaths that were linked to the storm’s destruction of the island’s power grid and other utilities, which significantly impacted rescue and health care efforts in the days and weeks after the storm.

Even today, more than a third of the island is still without electricity.

(sources:  New York Times, Washington Post,

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