Puerto Rico: Deaths increased by more than 1,400 after Maria

New government data show deaths increase by more than 1,400 after Hurricane Maria. San Juan's Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz (L) is pictured hugging a woman during her visit to an elderly home in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a couple days after the storm devastated the island on Sept. 20. EPA-EFE/THAIS LLORCA

June 2 (UPI) — There were 1,431 more deaths than usual in Puerto Rico in the months after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island, government data show.

The Puerto Rican government documented 1,431 more deaths in September, October and November 2017 than they did in the same three months a year earlier, CNN reported.

The data show that 3,040 people died in the first full month alone after the storm hit on Sept. 20, which is an increase of 680 over the same period the previous year, the Washington Post reported.

The island’s demographic registry released the raw numbers on Friday, but the data didn’t specify causes of death, so it’s still unclear how much of the increase is related to Maria, which hit the island on Sept. 20.

The data release follows a new Harvard University study that estimated Maria led to the deaths of at least 4,600 people from September through December.

The Harvard study published in the New England Medical Journal blamed a lot of the deaths on disruption of medical care due to the storm. The results also dwarfed the official death toll of 64.


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