A New Study Finds That Hurricane Maria's Death Toll Was 2,975 - Pacific Standard

A New Study Finds That Hurricane Maria's Death Toll Was 2,975

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A new independent study commissioned by Puerto Rico's governor has found that Hurricane Maria caused 2,975 deaths on the island.

This new death toll, released Tuesday, is more than twice as high as the estimates the Puerto Rican government released earlier this month—and over 46 times higher than the original number the governor offered in the immediate wake of the hurricane.

For months after Hurricane Maria wreaked destruction across the island in the fall of 2017, the Puerto Rican government's official death toll was 64. But observers consistently argued that the number was far too low. (One Harvard University study put the number killed directly or indirectly as high as 4,600.)

Amid media scrutiny and public pressure, the Puerto Rican government released an updated number earlier this month, which put the death toll at over 1,400.

The new number released this week comes from a study completed by independent researchers at George Washington University. Though Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello commissioned the study, it is unclear whether or not his government will accept this figure as the new official death toll. The governor will speak at a press conference later on Tuesday, NPR reports.

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