Updated Jun 1, 2018 - Science

Puerto Rican government admits to higher death toll from Hurricane Maria

Photo: Ricardo Arduengo/AFP via Getty Images

Facing pressure and a lawsuit from Institute of Statistics, the Puerto Rican Health Department released death toll data, admitting that the devastating Hurricane Maria led to more than the 64 deaths the government had been claiming.

By the numbers: A recent Harvard study estimated that the real death toll was 4,645, which would have put it on par with the that of Hurricane Katrina. But these numbers released by the Puerto Rican government should not be viewed as the final, official death toll.

Flashback: An April research published in Health Affairs Monday showed that the lack of proper scientific data collection in Puerto Rico during and after Hurricane Maria hit the island last September resulted in the death toll being severely underreported — the real number is closer to 1,085 than the government's estimate of 64 — essentially limiting necessary financial and other aid resources.

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