U.S. President Donald Trump's administration killed Puerto Ricans through "neglect", the mayor of the island's capital said Wednesday, a day after the official death toll for Hurricane Maria was raised to almost 3,000.
Today, GW Milken Institute SPH, in collaboration with researchers from the University of Puerto Rico Graduate School of Public Health, delivered on that request.
An estimated 2,975 excess deaths related to Hurricane Maria from September 2017 to February 2018, a number that is 22 percent higher than the number of deaths that would have been expected during that period in a year without the storm. Many of them are in Massachusetts, Florida and NY.
That number represents a significant increase over the 64 deaths that had initially been counted by Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello's administration.
San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz told the BBC that there had been "neglect" by the Trump administration and some local officials hadn't wanted to confront the president about the need for more aid.
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A study ordered by the governor of the U.S. territory recommended the revised toll for deaths that could be directly or indirectly attributed to Hurricane Maria and its aftermath, in a period from September 2017 to mid-February this year. "Stay here and be homeless, or move to Puerto Rico and be unemployed or have no home and struggle there".
"Southern Baptists have been in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria's landfall and we are still there", Melber said.
Cruz went on MSNBC on Wednesday shortly after Trump's comments and said the president was "incapable of feeling solidarity and empathy".
"We have put a lot of money and a lot of effort into Puerto Rico". Shortly after the storm, when the official death toll stood at 16, President Donald Trump marveled over the small loss of life compared to that of "a real catastrophe like Katrina".
The death toll for Hurricane Katrina, which battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more than 1,800.
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Hurricane Maria barreled into Puerto Rico Sept. 20 as a Category 4 storm. "Brownie, you're doing a heck of a job", Bush said at the time. Power on Puerto Rico was only restored last month, according to the New York Times.
Months ago, the Rossello administration stopped updating its official death toll at 64 and ordered the independent investigation amid suspicions the dead were substantially undercounted.
Rescue workers come to the rescue after Hurricane Maria.
The discrepancy in the numbers even a year later is mainly because doctors were not attributing deaths directly to Hurricane Maria, instead identifying them as natural causes or accidents.
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