Puerto Rico lacked disaster planning, study finds

Trump: We did 'fantastic' job with hurricane relief in Puerto Rico

A spokesman for Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello did not immediately return a message for comment.

"I think they need help preparing the bodies and everything", she said. "Yes, I made mistakes", Rosselló said. "Yes, in hindsight, things could've been handled differently".

"During our broader study, we found that many physicians were not oriented in the appropriate certification protocol", the report explains.

The report offered recommendations on how Puerto Rico can improve its response systems, including updating communications plans and enhancing training for public health professionals. "And people would call the radio stations and say, "but I live here and I don't have power" or "there's no power in one of the communities in that town".

The George Washington researchers instead inspected death certificates and other records, and they calculated the excess deaths by comparing historical death rates to the actual number of people who perished.

"It seemed like it was better to dance to President Trump's tune than to tell the truth that we were all seeing." she said.

The number of dead has political implications for the Trump administration, which was accused of responding half-heartedly to the disaster.

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Rossello pledged to carry out the recommendations, though there are questions about Puerto Rico's ability to do so. Tom Wolf is paying his own airfare and accommodations for the two-day trip that will end Friday morning.

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The comments echoed what Trump has said in the past about the United States territory, as he infamously bragged just days after the storm that only "16 people [died] verses in the thousands", which he claimed was good compared to "a real catastrophe like Katrina".

Maria's loss of life toll surpasses that of every Storm Katrina in 2005, which is to blame for 1,833 deaths, and the 1928 Okeechobee storm in Florida, which killed 2,500 of us.The Sizable Galveston Storm of 1900 stays the deadliest recorded storm in U.S. historical previous. That does not include indirect deaths of the sort the George Washington researchers counted in Puerto Rico.

"I'm very proud and grateful to be a Southern Baptist and for the continuous support that our churches, through NAMB and Send Relief, gave and are giving to restore Puerto Rico", he said, "but also for the focus to take advantage of this crisis to make Christ known to my people".

In the chaos after the storm, the island's public safety director, Héctor M. Pesquera, said at least six people were killed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says that aid meant to subsidize housing costs for Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria will expire at the end of this week.

Yet many remain outraged at both the local and federal governments. Overall, the study found that 22% more deaths than normally would have occurred during that period in Puerto Rico occurred following the hurricane.

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