Puerto Rico 2017 hurricane death toll raised to almost 3,000 from 64

Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017 as a Category 4 storm.

It was an optimistic accounting of his administration's handling of the natural disaster, which left much of the United States territory without power for weeks and resulted in thousands of deaths.

"The results of our epidemiological study suggest that, tragically, Hurricane Maria led to a large number of excess deaths throughout the island", said principal investigator Carlos Santos-Burgoa, a professor of global health at George Washington University.

Puerto Ricans are "going to remember this forever".

One month after Maria, when the official number of people killed stood at 16, Trump said that the disaster was nothing compared to Hurricane Katrina's death toll.

The death toll for Hurricane Katrina, which battered the Gulf Coast in 2005, was more than 1,800. When the lawsuit was initially filed, 1,744 Puerto Rican adults and children were in the program, an attorney involved in the suit said.

"Did we do a great job?" he asked his guest.

Puerto Rico has been reeling ever since the storm struck - with residents still suffering blackouts, broken infrastructure and a lack of services. He said on Wednesday an outdated electric grid and the territory's status as an island continued to the difficulty. "I think most of the people in Puerto Rico really appreciate what we've done".

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz was not quite so appreciative.

"This is a time for Puerto Ricans to bind together, to mourn, to reflect on the things that were done properly and things that were mistakes", he said. "The governor is an excellent guy, he's very happy with the job we've done", Trump told reporters today.

Trump did not respond directly to his critics Wednesday, instead saying he hoped the island doesn't suffer a similar fate this year.

"It seemed like it was better to dance to President Trump's tune than to tell the truth that we were all seeing." she said.

Researchers found the government and hospitals were inadequately prepared for the Category 4 storm.

"We did not cherry-pick, I can promise you", Goldman said.

A spokesman for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello did not immediately return a message for comment.

Santos-Burgoa said the high death toll, ranking Maria among the worst natural disasters in USA history, was evidence that "we lack a culture of preparedness".

Puerto Rico's governor on Tuesday raised the USA territory's official death toll from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study. They also took into account an 8 percent drop in Puerto Rico's population in the six months after the storm, when tens of thousands fled because of the damage.

All municipalities in Puerto Rico were hit hard by the hurricane and the aftermath, however, certain groups faced the biggest risk.

The new study raises questions about President Trump's response to the disaster.

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