During President Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in October, he patted himself on the back, noting that the death toll was only 16, “verses in the thousands” compared to the Hurricane Katrina death toll. Although there has been some confusion as the the actual death toll in Puerto Rico, two months later the United States government has it at just 62. According to a new report by the New York Times, however, that number may be over 1,000.
A review of the daily mortality data from Puerto Rico’s vital statistics bureau finds that in the 42 days since Maria hit, an average of 1,052 more people died across the island when compared with the average daily mortality rates in 2015 and 2015. This is a huge discrepancy, to say the least.
“Before the hurricane, I had an average of 82 deaths daily. That changes from Sept. 20 to 30th. Now I have an average of 118 deaths daily,” Wanda Llovet, the director of the Demographic Registry in Puerto Rico, said in a mid-November interview. Since then, she said on Thursday, both figures have increased by one.
In addition to lacking food and water, the absence of power made it difficult for those with medical conditions to get the care they needed in the aftermath of the hurricane, which contributed to the climbing death toll. The White House had a notably slow response in providing aid to the island which certainly didn’t help, as Trump seemed more concerned with sniping with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz on Twitter than actually providing relief to United States citizens.
(Via NY Times)