77ºF

Hurricane Maria blamed for approximately 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico, report says

Elderly men, residents of low-income areas were at greatest risk

SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 23: Mother Isamar holds her baby Saniel, 9 months, at their makeshift home, under reconstruction, after being mostly destroyed by Hurricane Maria, on December 23, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico.
SAN ISIDRO, PUERTO RICO - DECEMBER 23: Mother Isamar holds her baby Saniel, 9 months, at their makeshift home, under reconstruction, after being mostly destroyed by Hurricane Maria, on December 23, 2017 in San Isidro, Puerto Rico. (Getty Images)

A new report suggests Hurricane Maria was to blame for an estimated 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico between September and February, a number much higher than the one initially provided by government officials, CBS News reports.

Researchers at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health conducted the independent study, which was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico. It examined historical death patterns on the island from 2010 to 2017 and compared them to the number of deaths during the five months after the storm, from September 2017 to February 2018.

CBS News, which obtained a copy of the study, reported that men over 65 and "populations living in low socioeconomic development municipalities" were at a higher risk of dying to the storm and its lasting repercussions.

The report also offered insight as to why the number of deaths was so much higher than the initial number of 64 that government officials offered. Researchers found that many doctors were not properly trained on death certificate classifications after a natural disaster so the deaths attributed to the storm were only those caused by its direct effects, meaning flooding, flying debris, drowning and the like.

To read the full CBS News report on the study, click here.

 


About the Author: