Puerto Rico has just released new figures surrounding people that died in the wake of Hurricane Maria. The numbers released today shows that there were “1,427 more deaths in the last four months of 2017 than the average over the four years before,” the Associated Press reports.
The numbers released were basically forced out of Puerto Rico in light of their mounting lawsuits. CNN and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism sued Puerto Rico to release figures of people who have died since Hurricane Maria. These figures are also tremendously higher than the 64 that they originally had said perished in Hurricane Maria. Puerto Rico said that still won’t increase their 64 figure to 1,427 until another study is finalized by George Washington University. This most recent study is yet another being conducted since Harvard University reported that an estimated 4,645 people had died during the storm.
The original 64 figure comes from people who died during the hurricane as a result from a “fallen tree or flooding — and not “indirect deaths,'” according to NPR.
“For many in Puerto Rico — and especially for families of hurricane victims — the fact that the government’s official tally of the dead remains at 64 more than eight months after the hurricane feels like an insult,” NPR’s Adrian Florido said. “They say it’s a testament to how dismissive the government has been of their need to have the deaths of their loved ones acknowledged.”
According to the Associated Press, people could have died due to illnesses contracted after the storm, including sepsis, which “is a serious bloodstream infection usually caused by bacteria” and also from diabetes. “Deaths from diabetes went from 3,151 to 3,250 and deaths from heart illnesses increased from 5,417 to 5,586,” the AP reports.