Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico raises official death toll from 64 to 2,975
By Amanda Holpuch
Puerto Rico has raised the official death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975 people – a dramatic increase on the previous official figure of 64 – almost a year after the devastating storm struck the island.
The death toll was changed for the first time since December, following the publication of new research by George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health.
This is the first official change to the death toll following efforts by journalists, activists and academics to get the government to officially acknowledge the scale of devastation.
Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, said the report provided a foundation for the government to improve its response to hurricanes and other disasters. He also announced the creation of a “9/20” commission to determine what such improvements should look like.
Certain populations are identified in the report as being more vulnerable to natural disasters, including people who lived below the poverty level, the elderly and people who have chronic illnesses and need access to medications and medical equipment such as dialysis.
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