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TrumpDonald Trump rejects Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico’s stunning hurricane death claim

Friday - 14/09/2018 03:09
People walk in a flooded street next to damaged houses in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
People walk in a flooded street next to damaged houses in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has rejected the widely accepted conclusion that nearly 3,000 died in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria, arguing without evidence that the number was wrong and calling it a plot by Democrats to make him look bad.

As Hurricane Florence approached the Carolinas, the president picked a fresh fight over the administration’s response in Puerto Rico, tweeting: “When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000.”

US President Donald Trump holds a flashlight during a visit to the Cavalry Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Picture: AFP
US President Donald Trump holds a flashlight during a visit to the Cavalry Chapel in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

US President Donald Trump. Picture: AFP
US President Donald Trump. Picture: AFPSource:AFP
 
The Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Picture: AFP
The Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulin Cruz. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

Mr 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.” Puerto Rico’s governor last month raised the US territory’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2975 after an independent study found that the number of people who succumbed in the sweltering aftermath had been severely undercounted.

Maria Martinez stands next to her house which was damaged by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa in eastern Puerto Rico. Picture: AFP
Maria Martinez stands next to her house which was damaged by Hurricane Maria in Yabucoa in eastern Puerto Rico. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

People look on at a section of a road that collapsed and continues to erode days after Hurricane Maria swept through the island in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Picture: Getty
People look on at a section of a road that collapsed and continues to erode days after Hurricane Maria swept through the island in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images

The estimate of nearly 3000 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electrical grid was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University.

The study says the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.

 

Residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico, deal with damages to their homes. Picture: AFP
Residents of San Juan, Puerto Rico, deal with damages to their homes. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

The elderly and impoverished were hardest hit by the hurricane.

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