San Juan Mayor Says Hurricane Death Toll in Puerto Rico Could Be 10 Times Higher Than Reported

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San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz mentioned Friday the dying toll from hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico is definitely tons of greater than official authorities counts.

“It appears that for whatever reason the death toll is much higher than what has been reported,” Yulín Cruz mentioned throughout an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”

Carmen Cintron Torres takes a break from cleaning debris in front of her home more than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on October 7, 2017 in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. The flooded river next to her home destroyed a local bridge and flooded the school. Her home is currently without electricity. Only 11.7 percent of Puerto Rico's electricity has been restored. Puerto Rico experienced widespread damage including most of the electrical, gas and water grid as well as agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a category 4 hurricane, swept through. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Carmen Cintron Torres takes a break from cleansing particles in entrance of her dwelling greater than two weeks after Hurricane Maria hit the island, on October 7, 2017 in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico. The flooded river subsequent to her dwelling destroyed an area bridge and flooded the college. Her house is at present with out electrical energy. Only 11.7 p.c of Puerto Rico’s electrical energy has been restored. Puerto Rico skilled widespread harm together with a lot of the electrical, fuel and water grid in addition to agriculture after Hurricane Maria, a clbad four hurricane, swept via. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The official dying toll stands at 55, based on a press release launched to CNN by the federal government of Puerto Rico, however the variety of useless could also be nearly as excessive as 500, Yulín Cruz mentioned when requested particularly concerning the dying rely.

Many hurricane victims haven’t been included in that quantity attributable to their causes of dying not being correctly recorded or “being cataloged as dying of natural deaths,” Yulín Cruz mentioned.

“When they were, for example, hooked to a respirator, there’s no power, the small generator that they had that gives up, and of course, they die of natural causes, but they are related to a lack of electricity,” she mentioned.

According to a press release launched October 28 by the federal government of Puerto Rico, 911 our bodies cremated within the weeks after Hurricane Maria had been the results of pure causes. But the common variety of cremations in Puerto Rico in the identical timeframe is about half that, Yulín Cruz mentioned.

In a press release to CNN, Department of Public Safety of Puerto Rico Héctor M. Pesquera slammed Cruz’s remarks.

“The Mayor of San Juan, Carmen Yulín Cruz, stated she ‘thinks’ that the actual death count from Hurricane María is closer to 500,” mentioned Pesquera. “In order to support her statement she needs to present the evidence. If she is not willing to do such, it is an irresponsible comment. The Government of Puerto Rico certifies the death count based on factual information in concert with all components involved in the process.”

In a separate badertion in October, Pesquera mentioned the cremations had been licensed on the request of members of the family of the deceased. The cremations adopted a badessment of paperwork together with dying certificates and medical information exhibiting the reason for dying, he mentioned.

The badertion didn’t say whether or not our bodies had been examined previous to cremation, however famous that not one of the 911 cremation authorizations raised suspicion “that would stop the requested process.”

As for Puerto Ricans who survived the storm, dwelling situations are nonetheless dire, Yulín Cruz mentioned, noting that some individuals on the island are nonetheless with out energy weeks after the storms hit.

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