Wednesday, 26 September, 2018

Trump rejects Puerto Rico hurricane death toll, blames Dems

Nicholas Kamm  AFP  Getty Images Nicholas Kamm AFP Getty Images
Sandra Phillips | 14 September, 2018, 14:59

President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected the official conclusion that almost 3000 people died in Puerto Rico from last year's Hurricane Maria, arguing without evidence that the number was wrong and calling it a plot by Democrats to make him "look as bad as possible".

An independent study found that 2,975 people died in the six months after Hurricane Maria, leading Puerto Rico's governor in late August to raise the official death toll for the disaster. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list.

"As time went by it did not go up by much", Trump wrote.

The tweets drew the ire of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan who has sharply criticized both the president and his administration's response to the storm previous year that devastated the US territory.

Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz: "The world has seen, and the majority of the American people have seen, how neglectful he was towards the people of Puerto Rico".

The investigation looked at the total number of deaths from September 2017 through February 2018, and compared it with typical death rates, adjusting for many variables, including the hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans who evacuated the territory after the storm struck on Sept. 20. A range of other studies have placed the death toll estimate anywhere between 500 and 6,000.

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People on barrier islands or peninsulas were running out of time Wednesday to retreat by bridge or ferry. The category ranking of storms only describes the speed of the storm's sustained winds.

In the weeks after the storm hit, the Puerto Rican government said 64 people died on the island.

In fact, by the time Trump got on his plane to return to Washington, that official death toll had already doubled.

Katie Pavlich said there can be valid questions about how death tolls are determined and whether the federal or local government is more responsible, but that's an argument for another time.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to deny a report that 3,000 people died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

The Trump administration faced criticism for its relief efforts in Puerto Rico from lawmakers in both parties, who have said the White House was too slow to respond in the wake of the hurricane and didn't send enough people to the island to rebuild infrastructure and speed medical supplies, food and water to communities there.

Ryan added: "This was a devastating storm that hit an isolated island and that's really no one's fault". 'I think Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success, ' he claimed. It took more than 11 months, for example, to fully restore electricity. A USA territory since 1898, Puerto Rico's inhabitants are citizens, though they can not vote in presidential elections and have only one congressional representative with limited voting powers.

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