Puerto Rico’s Death Toll May be Higher Than You Think

U.S. Department of Agriculture Sgt. Jose Diaz-Ramos/Puerto Rico National Guard

The official count of the number of deaths related to Hurricane Maria has so far been 64 but Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rosselló said on Monday that the number “may be higher.”

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Rosselló said in a statement he wants a "thorough review and inspection of all deaths that have taken place since Hurricane Maria hit, regardless of what the death certificate says."

The powerful storm damaged the island’s power grid causing 70 percent of the island to lose electricity. There are many people who still do not have functioning electricity which can be deadly to those who depend on medical equipment to survive.

According to NBC News, “Reports emerged of people being unable to use oxygen and dialysis equipment, unable to refrigerate insulin, evacuated from hospitals that lost emergency power and other problems.”

Those reports such as NPR Latino and The New York Times have pressured Rosselló to make the order to the Puerto Rico Demographic Registry, which is the island's vital statistics bureau, and to the Department of Public Safety. The governor also said he'd create an expert panel to review the island's death certification process.

Unlike the president-elect, the Governor wants every death validated. When Trump visited Puerto Rico he compared the death toll to Katrina. He said, "If you look at a real catastrophe like Katrina and you look at the tremendous, hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people died and you look at what happened here ... 16 people certified versus in the thousands ... You can be very proud of all your people, all of our people working together.”

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The questions and investigations reflect the challenges that Puerto Rico faces because of their lack of finances to operate and obtain information.