Puerto Rico: 1,400 died from hurricane but toll still at 64

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

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico has conceded that Hurricane Maria killed more than 1,400 people on the island previous year and not just the 64 in the official death toll.

The admission was made in a report to Congress filed last week seeking $139billion to help the island recover from last year's devastating storm.

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.

People walk in a flooded street next to damaged houses in Catano town, in Juana Matos, Puerto Rico, on September 21, 2017. For months, the Puerto Rican government's official death toll stood at 64.

The Puerto Rican government submitted a report to Congress this week with a multibillion dollar plan to move the island into its next phase of reconstruction.

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A New York Times investigation said it was likely at least 1,000 Puerto Ricans were killed by the storm in the US territory.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said Puerto Rico's original death toll of 64 was "insulting to our collective intelligence".

"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. The government has also commissioned an academic study that's expected to provide more detailed information in the coming weeks, according to the Associated Press.

Maria swept over island on September 20, causing extensive flooding and knocking out power.

New York Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who was born in Puerto Rico, has called for legislation that would establish federal standards for death counts after disaster.

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