Five thousand deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

 

A social crime and cover-up exposed

Five thousand deaths in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria

31 May 2018

On Tuesday, a Harvard University study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine revealing that the true death toll from Hurricane María in Puerto Rico may be as high as 5,000 people, an estimate 70 times the absurdly low official government figure that to this day remains at 64.

The study found that thousands of deaths were caused by lack of access to basic medical care. The report explained: “[T]he most frequently reported problems were an inability to access medications (14.4 percent of households) and the need for respiratory equipment requiring electricity (9.5 percent), but many households also reported problems with closed medical facilities (8.6 percent) or absent doctors (6.1 percent). In the most remote category, 8.8 percent of households reported that they had been unable to reach 911 services by telephone.”

The study also documents some of the daily struggles of life for the working class in the aftermath of the storm. The report shows that, on average, households went 84 days without electricity, 68 days without running water and 41 days without cellular telephone coverage in the period evaluated by the study (September 20 to December 31, 2017).

The results of the study are a damning exposure of one of the most monstrous cover-ups in US history. Eight months after the storm, the independent study by Harvard researchers provides the only comprehensive scientific assessment of the death toll from the hurricane and the massively under-funded and incompetent recovery effort.

The Harvard study notes that the territorial administration of Governor Ricardo Rosselló stopped providing official mortality figures to the public in December, after…

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