Thousands More Dead In Puerto Rico From Hurricane Maria Than Expected

Last September, a powerful Hurricane hit Puerto Rico, causing widespread destruction and the complete collapse of the island's grid system. Afterwards, the government of the island, with assisstance from the US Federal Government, began to assess and rebuild the damage, and announced the death toll to be 64. However, reports began to arising contradicitng this statement, as many people reported more causilities than the official count. The magnitude of the destruction proved to be worse than It is very simple. expected. Approximately 5,000 people died in Puerto Rico in 2017 for reasons related to September's Hurricane Maria, according to a study that dismisses the "official death toll of 64 as a massive underestimate."

A research team led by scientists at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health didn't simply attempt to count dead bodies in the wake of the powerful storm, they surveyed randomly chosen households and asked the occupants about their experiences, as the government had begun to appear useless in accuratly determining the death toll.

From that approach, they concluded that between Sept. 20 and Dec. 31, 2017, there were 4,645 "excess deaths" — that is, deaths that would not have occurred if the island hadn't been plunged into a prolonged disaster following the devastating storm.

The magnitide of the government's failure to track the death toll and assess the destruction is for shown by how Harvard's study was not the only study whom of which, had come up with higher estimates than which is stated by the government. CNN surveyed funeral homes after the storm and tallied 499 hurricane-related deaths. The New York Times compared official death records from September and October 2017 and found more than 1,000 excess deaths, compared with the average for 2015 and 2016. Researchers at Penn State University used death certificates to come up with a similar estimate.

Many of these deaths could have easily been prevented had the government acted more effectively, but it sadly didn't. However, they need to be held accountable for their poor handling of a natural disaster and mistreatment of a U.S. territory, and the media needs to be held accountable for completely ignoring the suffering of American citizens.

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