Tags: Disaster Planning | Hurricane Irma | puerto rico | deaths | hurricane maria | underreported

CNN: Death Toll in Puerto Rico Underreported

CNN: Death Toll in Puerto Rico Underreported
Mercedes Perez is given a healthcare checkup by Sandra Alvarez, MD, (C) and Brenda Francisco, RN, (L) from an assisted living facility in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in San Juan, Puerto Rico. ( Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 20 November 2017 08:31 PM

Dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of deaths have yet to be counted in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane Maria, CNN reports.

CNN collected data from 112 of the island's funeral homes, only about half of the funeral homes on Puerto Rico, and found 499 deaths were related to Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. The other funeral homes would either not provide data or could not be reached.

"The cases where you have the body and the body gets taken to the funeral home almost always understate the real mortality," said Eric Klinenberg, director of New York University's Institute for Public Knowledge.

"There's always a significant number of bodies that don't get processed through funeral homes. What that tells me (is that) there are a lot more cases to be reported — and that number is probably going to spike again."

The Puerto Rican government says the official death toll stands at 55, but acknowledged last week 472 more people died this September compared with the same month last year. The strong Category 4 storm hit Puerto Rico on Sept. 20.

Officials insisted the toll remained at 55 despite the increase in mortality in the weeks after Hurricane Maria, with 20 direct deaths, 31 indirect deaths and four more from leptospirosis, a waterborne bacterial disease.

Many news outlets, politicians and academics have questioned the number, with San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz telling CNN's Jake Tapper on Nov. 3 she thought the number could be 500.

While CNN's numbers may be subjective, the outlet said funeral home directors "speak with family members and review death certificates and bodies."

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Dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of deaths have yet to be counted in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane Maria, CNN reports.
puerto rico, deaths, hurricane maria, underreported
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2017-31-20
Monday, 20 November 2017 08:31 PM
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