According to The New York Times, the territory of Puerto Rico's governor Ricardo A. Rosselló has ordered an official recount of the U.S. government's prior official count of those who died as a result of Hurricane Maria. This follows the Times and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism separately reporting that the Puerto Rico death toll is not nearly as low as the U.S. government's official count of 64, but instead at least 1,052 and 1,065 respectively.
Puerto Rico’s governor ordered a recount to find out how many people really died in Hurricane Maria, acknowledging… https://t.co/tXkkxJrUud— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeed News) 1513612557.0
"This is about more than numbers."
"We always expected that the number of hurricane-related deaths would increase as we received more factual information—not hearsay—and this review will ensure we are correctly counting everybody," Rossello wrote in a statement. "This is about more than numbers, these are lives: real people, leaving behind loved ones and families. The Government needs to work with sensibility and certainty in the process of certifying a death related to the hurricane."
Puerto Rico's governor is calling for a recount of the death toll from Hurricane Maria. The official count is 64. T… https://t.co/O1S7PCv7Bi— Axios (@Axios) 1513607100.0
This pushes the death toll up to the level of Hurricane Katrina's tally.
Hurricane Maria has killed 55 people in Puerto Rico. That’s the government’s official number, two months out. Two s… https://t.co/3Z9jprazLu— Jamil Smith (@Jamil Smith) 1512017516.0
And that is not OK.
@JamilSmith @brooklynmarie @voxdotcom "several media outlets, including Vox, CNN, and BuzzFeed, that found hundreds… https://t.co/scAXDLaDgN— Nick Smith™ (@Nick Smith™) 1512017826.0
But for those who have been paying attention to the Puerto Rico's recovery, or lack thereof, this is not news -- not even close.
People have been saying for months that true numbers of those who died during and immediately after Hurricane Maria laid devastation to the island are much higher than anyone could even keep track of.
In October, Buzzfeed News reported that hundreds of bodies were being burned in crematoriums without any record.
In October, @nidhiprakash reported bodies were being burned in crematoriums without being counted in the official d… https://t.co/GUUYXWrZFi— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeed News) 1513612994.0
By November, the number of deaths reported by funeral homes was ten times the official count.
CNN surveyed 112 Puerto Rican funeral homes, who reported an estimated 500 deaths related to the storm.
Continuing to count the cost of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico https://t.co/Fu7RTcF7Z6 https://t.co/eOayqhSiY1— Katharine Hayhoe (@Katharine Hayhoe) 1511225759.0
A study concluded that the deaths in Puerto Rico related to Hurricane María may be at least 10 times higher than th… https://t.co/9UOxoQ0PAH— NPR's Latino USA (@NPR's Latino USA) 1511818194.0
Then in early December, hip-hop artist and actor Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr., also known as Common (formerly Common Sense), shared on Twitter numerous reports of the alarming lack of tracking performed by the government.
"Homes were flattened. Power was knocked out. And all across Puerto Rico, bodies began showing up at morgues" https://t.co/Pxov53QarZ— COMMON (@COMMON) 1512777214.0
"Almost 1,000 More People Died in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria Than Officially Confirmed" https://t.co/19n3xW5pQr— COMMON (@COMMON) 1512777704.0
Our brothers + sisters in Puerto Rico are dying + many still don't have power. We must stand up + speak out about t… https://t.co/WcRh5lXeLL— COMMON (@COMMON) 1512778169.0
The current state of Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma + Maria is truly devastating + infuriating to read about. My… https://t.co/AGMqbKsbn2— COMMON (@COMMON) 1512778620.0
Other legislators have now called for a recount.
Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez of New York and Congressman Bennie Thompson of Mississippi penned a letter to the Government Accountability Office, “demanding a review of the official death count in Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria."
Most recently, Congresswoman @NydiaVelazquez and Congressman @BennieGThompson wrote a letter to the Government Acco… https://t.co/GZyi6FKZ8I— David Begnaud (@David Begnaud) 1513609770.0
People are livid that the government has not done more to help their fellow Americans.
@cliffordlevy @nytimes There's no way it was 64. People still don't have power. Guaranteed people are still dying.… https://t.co/QsUusMtbYx— Mari (@Mari) 1513603913.0
We need to keep paying attention to Puerto Rico, keep helping, until the situation drastically improves.
@cliffordlevy @nytimes I hope this brings America's attention back to the situation in PR. It's a travesty that our… https://t.co/8aI7knOfIe— Pepin Lachance (@Pepin Lachance) 1513609994.0
But not everyone believes the recount would actually help.
@cliffordlevy @mikiebarb @nytimes Instead of spending money on getting critical services restored, the leaders deci… https://t.co/76DYIekAVq— T. Grames (@T. Grames) 1513604524.0
Speaking of the restoration of services and power, three months since Hurrican Maria hit landfall in Puerto Rico, thousands of Americans are still without power.
People are understandably furious about the power outage at @ATLairport - but know this: Sunday in Puerto Rico 88… https://t.co/uiFUWOzE0Q— David Begnaud (@David Begnaud) 1513551370.0
At least the eyes of the world are on still on Puerto Rico.
In November, artist-writer Molly Crabapple spent a week in Puerto Rico documenting grassroots efforts by communities to rebuild after Hurricane Maria.
“By this time, the people on the food line were singing along with them. ‘The government does not count the dead of… https://t.co/OJmCtq6PJc— The Paris Review (@The Paris Review) 1513620784.0
The question remains: What will our own government do now to help Puerto Rico, and to properly account for all the lives lost?
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