The New York Daily reports:
The number of people killed in Puerto Rico amid Hurricane Maria is at least 70 times higher than the official government death toll, according to a study published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Researchers in the United States and Puerto Rico estimated more than 4,645 people were killed as a result of the storm, rather than the 64 people included in the official casualty count. Authors of the study, titled “Mortality in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria,” noted their figure is “likely to be conservative,” saying the total could actually be in excess of 5,000.
“Our results indicate that the official count of 64 is a substantial underestimate of the true burden of mortality after Hurricane Maria,” the authors wrote. The official death estimate has repeatedly been questioned by locals and experts, many of them blasting officials for their lack of transparency.
Hurricane season officially starts on Friday.