‘3,000 people did not die’: Donald Trump rejects Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria

Andy Wells
·Freelance Writer
<em>Donald Trump has rejected the accepted death toll of Hurricane Maria (Getty)</em>
Donald Trump has rejected the accepted death toll of Hurricane Maria (Getty)

Donald Trump has caused uproar by rejecting the widely accepted death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria.

The US president claimed – without citing evidence – that ‘3,000 people did not die’ in the devastating hurricane in September 2017.

Trump called the death toll a move by Democrats to make him look bad.

He tweeted on Thursday as Hurricane Florence bears down on the Carolinas.

Trump said: ‘When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths.

‘As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…’

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Puerto Rico’s governor raised the US territory’s official death toll from Hurricane Maria from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study found the number of people who died in the aftermath had been severely under-counted.

Maria devastated the island in September 2017 and knocked out the entire electricity grid.

<em>Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017 (Getty)</em>
Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017 (Getty)

Researchers from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University said the original estimates were so low because doctors on the island had not been trained to properly classify deaths after a natural disaster.

The elderly and impoverished were hardest hit by the hurricane.