Thu | Apr 2, 2020

Hurricane Maria killed more than 4,600 in Puerto Rico - study

Published:Wednesday | May 30, 2018 | 12:00 AM

More than 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of last year's Hurricane Maria, according to a new study from researchers.

According to The Washington Times, the study supports other claims that the official death toll of 64 was greatly underestimated and could be the deadliest natural disaster in US history.

The official death toll from 2005's Hurricane Katrina was 1,833.

Published Tuesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health looked at direct and indirect deaths caused by the hurricane on Puerto Rico, estimating that there were a total of 4,645 additional deaths between September 20, when the hurricane made landfall, and December 31.

Compared to the year before, the number of deaths that occurred during this three-month period represented a 62 per cent increase, although it is likely that families didn't accurately report deaths as attributed to the storm, such as those caused by delayed or interrupted healthcare, the authors wrote.

"The mortality remained high through the end of December 2017, and one-third of the deaths were attributed to delayed or interrupted healthcare. hurricane-related migration was substantial," they wrote.

In December, The New York Times reported that actual deaths from Hurricane Maria exceeded 64 people, but put their total estimate at about 1,052.