Puerto Rican Government Admits Hurricane Maria Death Toll Was at Least 1,400

RICARDO ARDUENGO  AFP

The island's government conceded this news in a report filed to Congress earlier this week.

For the first time since Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico almost 11 months ago, the US territory's government has conceded that the monster storm was responsible for hundreds of deaths on the island.

The report submitted to the USA government earlier this week was part of a $139 billion reconstruction plan for Puerto Rico.

The territory's government said that the additional deaths resulted from the effects of a storm that led to a "cascading failures" in infrastructure across the island of 3.3 million people.

Puerto Rican officials have admitted that more than 64 people likely died from the powerful storm that knocked out the power grid and caused widespread flooding that made many roads impassable.

"Every death is a horror - but if you look at a real catastrophe, like Katrina, and you look at the tremendous hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people that died, and you look at what happened here with, really, a storm that was just totally overpowering - nobody has ever seen anything like this", Trump said then.

According to Associate Press, the government has commissioned an academic study that's expected to pinpoint a new, more exact body count.

"Although the official death count from the Puerto Rico Department of Public Safety was initially 64, the toll appears to be much higher", it said in the report.

Most of the deaths occurred not in the initial storm on September 20, but in the ensuing days and weeks when the island-wide electricity outage and roads blocked by downed power lines and other debris made it hard to move around and emergency services were stretched beyond their capabilities.

It's been nearly a year since Hurricane Maria swept through the Caribbean and caused catastrophic devastation throughout Puerto Rico.

The directors say in many cases they don't know how to classify hurricane-related deaths, or whether they should send bodies to the central institute certifying official hurricane deaths, the Institute of Forensic Sciences.

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