More than 1,000 people died in Puerto Rico in the weeks after Hurricane Maria — meaning the storm’s death toll is likely much higher than the official tally, new data reveals.
There were at least 1,065 fatalities on the electricity-starved island in the 42 days after the storm struck on Sept. 20, according to a report released by The Center for Investigative Journalism on Thursday.
At least 985 more people died in the country during September and October 2017 compared to the same time period last year, according to the data.
Puerto Rican officials have said the number of people who died as a result of the natural disaster is 62.
Overall, more than 100,000 people have fled the storm-ravaged island this year, according to The City University of New York’s Center for Puerto Rican Studies.
In September, the island’s average daily death rate spiked by 43 percent — and soared as high as 80 percent in the five days after the storm struck, according to the report. In October, the death toll increased by 23 percent.
The biggest spike in deaths hit people between the ages between 70 and 79 in September. Many of them died in hospitals and nursing homes from preexisting conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s, kidney disease, and respiratory diseases.
In October, the biggest increase in fatalities hit people over the age 90, according to the report.
But the death rate also soared among people in their 30s and 40s.
Fatalities among people ages 30 to 39 years old increased by 36 percent in October. The rate among people 40 to 49 years old spiked 23.3 percent, according to the report.
H/T: NY Post