The Ford Fund-sponsored workshop helps people deal with emotions and emotions related to the trauma of Hurricane Maria.
Detroit Free Press

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump supports "full accountability" in judging the Death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, a top employee said on Tuesday, but the White House did not directly address a new estimate that puts that number in the thousands.

Answering a George Washington University study that found nearly 3,000 people died last year, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said the Trump administration supports "full accountability and transparency of deaths".

"The American people, including those who mourn the loss of a loved one, deserve no less," said Sanders in a statement.

From September 2017 to February 2018, 2,975 people died, according to the study by the school of George Washington University Milken Public Health Institute, which was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government. That's a staggering increase over the 64 deaths reported by the government of Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello were counted.

Sanders has not commented directly on whether the White House agrees with the findings of the study. Trump's administration was criticized for its reaction to the storm.

A high-ranking White House official described the study as an expansive English: How the mortality is counted after a disaster, the Trump government said in a report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

"The devastating back-to-back hurricanes were hit with the largest domestic civil protection mission in history," Sanders said in the statement. "We focus on recovering and preparing for the current hurricane season."

More: Nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria

Related: Puerto Rico recognizes much higher fatalities of Hurricane Maria


USA TODAY met Michelle Rebollo for the first time and collected days after Maria water on a mountainside. The small business is struggling to pay bills as tourism has declined. She and her family now have power, but every day they have to cope with failures.

Read or Share This Story: