Puerto Rico Death Toll Rises: Nearly 3,000 Died From Hurricane Maria

August 30, 2018 AT 10:00 AM

By Joshua Hoyos and Alexander Mallin

Using a study from a team of independent researchers, officials in Puerto Rico said they're raising the official death toll from Hurricane Maria to 2,975 from 64.

Researchers have determined that an estimated 2,975 people died from September 2017 through the end of February 2018. The independent study, from George Washington University's (GWU) Milken School of Public Health, was commissioned by the Puerto Rican government.

At a press conference Tuesday in San Juan, Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced he would be raising the island's official estimate to match that of the study.Rossello called the announcement "painful" and said it's a time for Puerto Ricans to mourn and reflect.

The GWU report also showed that the risk of dying in the aftermath of Maria was 60 percent higher for those in the poorest communities and 35 percent higher for those aged 65 or older.

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