Trump disputes Puerto Rico hurricane death toll

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US President Donald Trump is disputing that nearly 3,000 people died in Puerto Rico after the island was hit by two hurricanes in September 2017.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter, without offering evidence for the claim.

He added that Democrats had inflated the official death toll to "make me look as bad as possible".

The official figure was released last month after an independent study.

Donald J. Trump

3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico. When I left the Island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths. As time went by it did not go up by much. Then, a long time later, they started to report really large numbers, like 3000…

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Donald J. Trump

…..This was done by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico. If a person died for any reason, like old age, just add them onto the list. Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!

1:49 PM – Sep 13, 2018

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End of Twitter post 2 by @realDonaldTrump

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The George Washington University study was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico, who said he accepted the official estimate.

The research concluded that the initial death toll of 64 deaths only included those killed directly by hurricanes Maria and Irma – either by drowning, flying debris, or building collapse.

But the new report also counted those who died in the six months following the storm as a result of poor healthcare provision and a lack of electricity and clean water.

Repeated power cuts also led to an increased number of deaths from diabetes and sepsis.

Last May, Harvard University public health researchers estimated the death toll was even higher.

They said about 4,600 people died in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane from delayed medical care.

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