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Home / World / Hurricane Maria caused 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico, new study estimates

Hurricane Maria caused 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico, new study estimates



The new figure is 46 times larger than the previous toll that the Puerto Rican government released in December 2017 when officials said 64 people had died as a result of the storm.

George Washington University Researcher The University revealed results of a storm-related death study commissioned by the US Commonwealth government.

But it's just an approximation, not a concrete list of names, Governor Ricardo Rossello told reporters.

Forward, he said, officials will continue to investigate the deaths from the storm and refine the official figure.

"This number may change," he said. "It could be less, it could be more if time goes by."

It could take months or even years to compile a complete list of storm-related deaths.

"We use the best science available … to complete all this," he said. "The truth is that there is a lot of work to do."

The official Hurricane Maria toll is partly due to the fact that families of those who died after the storm are entitled to have some of the burial costs borne by the US government. Experts say that higher death tolls bring more disaster relief. And knowing exactly how and why people died can help regulators prevent future hurricane-related deaths.

A key question: Will this new number ̵

1; based on a request by Puerto Rican officials – close families who have long argued that their loved ones have died because of the storm but have not received official confirmation?

A New Study

George Washington University researchers published a study on Tuesday calculating deaths in the US between September 2017 and February 2018.

Study commissioned The September 2017 storm followed a series of other similar ones.
And recently, the Puerto Rican government had quietly admitted that the official toll was higher. In a report to Congress earlier this month, the US Commonwealth said that in the four months following the storm, 1,427 more deaths occurred as "normal," compared to deaths in the previous four years.

But Tuesday's estimate was an even higher number.

Researchers behind the George Washington University study said they could provide a more accurate estimate because they considered additional factors such as migration.

"I do, I think this study helps to confirm the impression that many people have had too many deaths," said Lynn Goldman, Dean of the University's Milken Institute School of Public Health.

But she also stressed that Tuesday's report marks only the first phase of the study.

"In the next phase, we want to dive deeper into this figure to understand, among all the deaths associated with Hurricane Maria, which of them would not have occurred had it not been for" We can not say that now "Goldman said."

She acknowledged that a complete list might never be possible.

"At the end of the day," she said, "we can never be able to fully identify all of these 2,975 people , "

" We will not revive them "

With many different estimates it is hard to say who one believes, said Lourdes Rodriguez, whose father Natalio died in January.

These are up and down numbers. No one knows how or from what (source) is the real number, "said Rodriguez." Since the island was closed, there was no way for a week or one and a half weeks after the event to know anything. "

Natalio Rodriguez "Death was not officially classified as being associated with the storm, but his family believes Maria was guilty." He died after running out of gas to the generator that ran his breathing machine.

And no study, as Lourdes Rodriguez said , can catch up with what they have lost and so many others.

"We will not revive them." We just have to be prepared or ready for the next event, "said Rodriguez. "September is one of the hottest months of the year, and you see people walking to the beach and living in 'la la land' as if nothing came."

Multiple estimates

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A research letter, which was published this month in the medical journal JAMA, estimated that 1,006 to 1,272 people Related to the storm died.
In May, a team of researchers from Harvard University published a study estimated in the New England Journal of Medicine that 793 to 8,498 people died in Mary's retinue, a range that some scholars have criticized as too broad. The study's median estimate – 4,645 deaths – became a collective summons for activists who are upset over the lack of accountability for the magnitude of the disaster in Puerto Rico and the United States.
This year, CNN and the Centro de Periodismo Investigativo (CPI) in Puerto Rico have sued the island's Demographic Register to publish a database of information about anyone who died in the months following the storm.
Using the same database, CNN reported deaths identified in government records as hurricane-related, which were not scored by officials; and in collaboration with CPI reported an apparent leptospirosis "outbreak" that was not identified as an outbreak by the authorities.
The network also created an online database that allows the public to search for the names of all the dead in the months following the storm – and tell reporters about deaths that may have been associated with Maria.

John D. Sutter of CNN contributed to this report.


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