Accepting the results and recommendations of a George Washington University study commissioned by his own administration about deaths related to Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, governor Ricardo Rosselló announced on Tuesday that the official death count has moved from 64 lost lives to 2,975 deaths.
During a bilingual press conference in La Fortaleza, Rosselló made the announcement.
“Even though it is an estimate, we are officially changing, or we’re actually putting an official number to the death toll,” Rosselló said. “We will take the 2,975 number as the official estimate for the excess deaths as a product of María.”
Here is the video of the press conference:
“I assume whatever responsibility comes my way,” Rosselló said, who also added that the official death count could still change, since it is an estimate from the study. He did note that more work will be needed to get to a complete list of names and causes.
On September 28, 2017, the first story about the death count being underreported was filed by Omaya Sosa of the CPI. A few days later, Sosa was on Latino Rebels Radio to discuss her reporting:
Those initial reports led to intense intense and scrutiny about the issue, raising serious questions about transparency and accountability.
[…] loss of communications had tragic and deadly consequences. At least 3,000 people died, making Hurricane Maria one of the deadliest natural disasters in U.S. history. Puerto Ricans […]