Published: Sun, September 16, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'

Trump claims Maria death toll rose 'like magic'

President Trump added: "This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico".

Among the voices correcting the president's tweets online was that of Spencer Cox, Utah's Republican lieutenant governor, who went to Puerto Rico to do volunteer aid work in the aftermath of the 2017 Hurricane season. How else to explain his decision, as a hurricane looms off the United States coast, to call adjusted Puerto Rican death-toll figures from Hurricane Maria a Democratic-inspired plot against him?

Puerto Rican Gov. Ricardo Rosselló admitted the government made mistakes handling the storm but he insisted it was not due to political considerations.

Below is a list of studies that have estimated the death toll there. Trump in his tweets blamed Democrats for inflating the numbers. A second phase will examine the circumstances of specific deaths to arrive at a more precise number. And Saturday Storm survivors were collecting spring water from the mountains for cooking and bathing, even with the threat of disease that brought. After that, it climbed to 64.

Numerous deaths in the aftermath of Maria were attributed to power failures and limited access to healthcare and clean drinking water.

Where does the official death toll come from?

"This was long AFTER the hurricane took place".

The widely accepted total death toll from Katrina is 1,833.

"Ron DeSantis is committed to standing with the Puerto Rican community, especially after a tragic loss of life".

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"Casualties don't make a person look bad", House Speaker Paul Ryan said.

The politics of the Thursday-morning tweets are rough. Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents South Florida and is retiring from Congress, took the lonely route of rebuking Trump.

However, the report says, "the Government of Puerto Rico does not have control over the federal land" and was unable to get to the water. Rossello is a Democrat who has been generally supportive of Trump.

The mayor of Puerto Rico's capital accused Trump of being "delusional". That spawned a long and deadly tail for the storm, with hundreds of deaths coming long after the first weeks of the storm, as medical equipment failed and sick people weakened in the suffocating heat.

The new estimated Maria death-toll estimate covers six months after the storm hit, not four, so immediately we're talking apples and at least some oranges.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides doctors with a set of recommendations for counting such deaths as caused by natural disasters, but the guidelines were nearly never followed by Puerto Rican doctors in the chaos after the storm.

"We left this analysis to the scientists and experts, recognising that there would be many challenges, because we wanted to have a powerful and independent voice to minimise the uncertainty", he said in a video on Facebook.

The deaths fell in two categories: direct and indirect. "Indirect" deaths are harder to count because they can include such things as heart attacks, electrocutions from downed power lines and failure to receive dialysis because the power is out - and those kinds of fatalities can happen after a storm has ended but while an area is struggling to restore electricity, clean water and other health and safety services.

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