US Puerto Rico: Hurricane death toll climbs to 64

13:50  10 december  2017
13:50  10 december  2017 Source:   CNN

Over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida

  Over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have arrived in Florida Over 200,000 Puerto Ricans have flown to Florida in the last 10 weeks since Hurricane Maria devastated the island.Maria Teresa Rosado, 37, and her husband Luis Flores, 33, arrived in Miami over the weekend to start rebuilding their lives. Power has not yet arrived to their house in San Lorenzo, Puerto Rico.

After almost a week of not being updated, Puerto Rico 's death toll from Hurricane Maria climbed to 36. Before the increase, an investigative reporter called dozens of hospitals and facilities to find out how many died from Hurricane Maria.

64 °. Low 63°. High 68°. (Fred Rasmussen). The death toll from Hurricane Maria has risen to 48 in Puerto Rico , the territory’s Department of Public Safety said Saturday.

Leyla Santiago Death Toll Investigation TRACK © ARMIJO, JOSE/CNN Leyla Santiago Death Toll Investigation TRACK

The number of people who died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria has risen to 64, the island's Department of Public Safety said Saturday.

The government added two more storm-related deaths to the official total. However, investigations by CNN and other news organizations show the overall number may be much higher.

"These deaths that are certified today as indirect deaths related to Hurricane Maria are the result of investigations into cases that have been brought to our consideration," DPS Secretary Hector M. Pesquera said in a news release.

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  FEMA chief questions agency's role, urges more local response <p>The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency on Thursday said the wave of recent U.S. disasters, from multiple storms to raging wildfires, must redefine the agency's role and that localities must be more prepared to shoulder crises.</p>FEMA Administrator Brock Long told Congress members the scale of assisting victims and rebuilding damaged areas has tested the agency, busted budgets and strained resources, and that more of the nation's emergency response must fall on its citizenry.

San Juan: Puerto Rico battled dangerous floods on Friday after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, as rescuers raced against time to reach residents trapped in their homes and the death toll climbed to 33.

The number of deaths may rise, with about 117 people unaccounted for after last month’s hurricane . Tens of thousands have fled Puerto Rico since Maria hit September 20. But for many of the millions remaining, the hunt for basic necessities is never-ending.

One of the cases certified Saturday by the DPS and confirmed by the department's spokeswoman was Jose "Pepe" Sanchez.

Sanchez was highlighted in a CNN investigative piece that checked the accuracy of the official death toll.

When Sanchez collapsed during the storm, emergency medical personnel could not make it to the house. Doctors classified his death as natural and the government did not include it in the storm death toll at first.

CNN reached out to Sanchez's wife Edith, who is still without power. Speaking on the news of her husband's death being included in the official death toll, Edith Perez said, "At least now, I feel a sense of justice."

The government had not yet reached out to Edith Perez when CNN made contact with her Saturday.

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  Puerto Rico: Thousands wait for roofs <p>A dispute over a government contract has slowed efforts to build temporary roofs for people in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico, officials from the US Army Corps of Engineers told CNN.</p>The Army Corps runs a program called "Operation Blue Roof," which provides and installs temporary roofs for people on the Caribbean island that was devastated by Hurricane Maria more than two months ago. Since then, the Army Corps has installed 17,672 roofs in Puerto Rico as part of that program -- only 26% of the 66,906 applications for such roofing help.

Puerto Rico 's death toll from Hurricane Maria -- which slammed into the U.S. territory September 20 as a Category 4 storm -- has risen to 64 , the island's Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Saturday.

High 64 °. By Natalie Gallón and Joe Sterling, CNN. The death toll from Hurricane Maria has risen to 48 in Puerto Rico , the territory’s Department of Public Safety said Saturday.

The other person had health problems and the death certificate said the death was natural, the DPS said. The death of that person, who was not named, was "indirectly related to the hurricane," the DPS said.

On December 2, the DPS reported four other deaths indirectly caused by the storm -- a case of exposure to carbon monoxide, a suicide, a person run over by his own vehicle and a death from complications following a fall. Those four deaths brought the official tally at that point to 62.

Counting the dead

Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20 as a Category 4 hurricane. The energy grid was heavily damaged, causing an island-wide power outage. Damages are estimated at $45 billion-$95 billion.

The death toll quickly came into dispute.

Puerto Rican officials say they base their death count on information they receive, but apparently many "indirect" deaths, such as Sanchez's, were not counted.

Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 62. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052.

  Official Toll in Puerto Rico: 62. Actual Deaths May Be 1,052. <p>Homes were flattened. Power was knocked out. And all across Puerto Rico, bodies began showing up at morgues. Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with great fury but the government there has reported an official death toll far lower than the devastation suggests.</p>Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with great fury but the government there has reported an official death toll far lower than the devastation suggests.

On the night of Tuesday, October 3, Puerto Rico Police confirmed that nine people had completed suicide after Hurricane Maria made landfall on A spokesman for Governor Ricardo Rosello also said that the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria has more than doubled to 34.

Trump contrasts Puerto Rico death toll to ‘a real catastrophe like Katrina’. News. Category 5 Hurricane Maria strengthens as it heads toward Puerto Rico .

In November, CNN called 279 funeral homes and reached nearly half of them. Of those that CNN spoke with, funeral directors reported 499 deaths they believe were related to hurricane Maria.

San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz told CNN on November 3 that she thought the toll could be 500.

Many hurricane victims were not included in the official count because the cause of death was improperly recorded or they were "cataloged as dying of natural deaths," Yulín Cruz said.

Two demographers who conducted a statistical assessment of reported deaths said the actual death toll may be more than eight times higher than the official number from the Puerto Rican government. Pesquera said the government has been looking into other cases.

Information released Saturday by Puerto Rico's vital statistics bureau shows the number of deaths may be even higher.

$1 billion in assistance

In a news release, FEMA said federal assistance to survivors, city governments and Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricanes Irma and Maria has topped $1 billion.

More than 1 million Puerto Rican residents registered for FEMA assistance and FEMA has provided funds to more than 366,000 families in Puerto Rico, the agency said.

Repair of Puerto Rico’s power grid won’t be complete until May, Army Corps of Engineers says

  Repair of Puerto Rico’s power grid won’t be complete until May, Army Corps of Engineers says Puerto Rico’s electrical grid is unlikely to be fully restored until the end of May, the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Wednesday -- months longer than the timeline offered by the island’s governor. Lieutenant General Todd Semonite, commanding general and chief engineer for the Corps, said in an interview Wednesday that he expects the Puerto Rico’s electric grid to reach 75 percent of customers by the end of January, 95 percent by the end of February, and 100 percent by the end of May, more than eight months after Hurricane Maria hit.

64 °. Nearly two weeks after Hurricane Maria pummeled the island of Puerto Rico , President Donald Trump touched down for the first time and immediately downplayed the devastation. Ricardo Rosselló warned reporters that he expected the death toll to climb .

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) - The Latest on Hurricane Maria (all times local): 11:55 a.m. New York Gov. 11:45 a.m. Maria's death toll across the Caribbean has climbed to at least 27. Nearby, 64 -year-old retiree Neida Febus left her home carrying bowls of rice and ground meat topped with

FEMA said the assistance includes:

• More than $259 million in financial assistance for rental, repair or rebuilding of residences.

• More than $251 million to repair or replace damaged personal property or to pay for disaster-related necessary expenses.

• More than $39 million in low-interest disaster loans for more than 880 survivors and 50 business owners through the US Small Business Administration.

Updates on services

The Puerto Rican government webpage on hurricane recovery said Saturday that 56.6% of the island's pre-hurricane electricity-generating capacity had been restored.

However, that figure does not reflect the number or percentage of Puerto Rico's population that has power.

The webpage said 84.3% of gas stations were operating and 88.8% of supermarkets were operating.

CNN's Leyla Santiago and Bijan Hosseini reported from Washington, DC, and Atlanta, respectively. Ralph Ellis wrote this story in Atlanta.

Report slams local, US hurricane response in Puerto Rico .
<p>Housing is urgently needed for tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans who lack power and a regular source of safe water nearly three months after Hurricane Maria damaged their homes, Refugees International says in a report.</p>The nonprofit group visited the U.S. territory in recent weeks to survey needs and review the response by local and federal officials in the aftermath of the Category 4 storm, marking the first time it has organized a mission to a U.S. jurisdiction. In a report shared with The Associated Press, the group said its team was shocked by poor coordination and logistics across the island that have caused delays in aid.

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