Puerto Rican Government Quietly Admits 1,427 Died in Hurricane

The government of Puerto Rico has quietly admitted more than 1,400 people appear to have died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria—a figure that is more than 20 times its official death toll. Several academic assessments of the aftermath of Maria placed the death toll much, much higher than the Puerto Rican government’s official figure of 64. Now, in a draft of a report to Congress requesting $139 billion in recovery funds, territory officials admit that 1,427 more people died in the last four months of 2017 compared with the same time frame in the previous year. The figures were released quietly—they come from death-registry statistics released in June, but they were never publicly acknowledged by officials, according to The New York Times. “Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher,” said the report, titled “Transformation and Innovation in the Wake of Devastation.” In another section, it said: “According to initial reports, 64 lives were lost. That estimate was later revised to 1,427.”