Puerto Rico 2017 hurricane death toll raised to nearly 3,000 from 64


Puerto Rican authorities believe nearly 3,000 people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, having accepted a new estimate that is 46 times higher than the previous official death toll.

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Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosello accepted the findings of a research team at George Washington University, published August 28, which estimated the excess mortality during a six month period between September 2017 when Hurricane Maria struck and February 2018 at 2,975. Their model was trained on seven year’s of monthly mortality and census data and the 95 percent confidence level was given at 2,658-3,290.

The previous official estimate of people killed by the hurricane, which lasted from mid-September to early October 2017, was 64. The research confirmed widespread speculation that the death toll had been underestimated, partly due to gaps in death certification.

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The worst Atlantic hurricane since 2004 came when the U.S. territory was struggling with a debt crisis that had seen it file for a form of bankruptcy months earlier, and which had over several years undermined investment in infrastructure.

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  • Read the latest research here.
  • Look into Puerto Rico’s ongoing creditor disputes here.
  • Explore legislators’ preliminary recovery plan, for both the economic crisis and hurricane damage, here.
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