Independent researchers from George Washington University have estimated that Hurricane Maria caused 2,975 deaths in Puerto Rico in the six months following the storm.
The researchers’ findings had been long-awaited. Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló commissioned the independent study in February, after months of public pressure over his administration’s failure to adequately count the number of hurricane dead. At the time, he said the research team would have the Puerto Rican government’s full cooperation, including access to all mortality data.
As a result of Maria, researchers estimate 22 percent more people died during those six months than would have had the hurricane not struck. They also said those most at risk for death were poor people and the elderly.