Report: Hurricane Maria Death Toll Surpasses 4,600

“Officials in Puerto Rico say that 64 people lost their lives after Hurricane Maria slammed into the island in September. A new report says that estimate is off — by about 4,600,” The LA Times reports.

“To get a better handle of the storm’s true impact, interviewers fanned out across Puerto Rico between mid-January and late February. They knocked on doors and talked to adults from 3,299 households, which represented 9,522 people. Among other things, they asked whether anyone in the household died between the day Maria hit the island and the end of the year.”

“With sustained winds of up to 155 miles per hour and heavy rains that caused catastrophic flooding, there were many ways for Hurricane Maria to kill, explained the team led by Nishant Kishore of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.”

“The researchers used these responses to calculate that there were 14.3 deaths per 1,000 Puerto Ricans between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, 2017. That mortality rate was 62% higher than it had been during the same period in 2016.”

“Applying this increase in the mortality rate to the entire country, the team determined that there were about 4,645 ‘excess deaths’ in the wake of Hurricane Maria.”

“Among the deaths the researchers tallied through their survey, nearly 1 in 10 were a direct result of the storm, and one-third could be traced to ‘delayed or prevented access to medical care’ as a result of the storm.”

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