Velázquez on Latest Puerto Rico Hurricane Death Toll Estimate
Washington, DC - Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) released the following statement regarding news reports that the Puerto Rican government has acknowledged a hurricane death toll of 1,427:
“It has been tragically clear for some time that the devastation from Irma and Maria was many magnitudes worse than the official death toll suggested. There’s good reason to believe that the actual loss of life may be even higher than this estimate. This news is simply the latest evidence underscoring how inadequate the federal response was to a humanitarian crisis affecting our fellow citizens.
“This is exactly why I am pushing legislation, the COUNT Act, to establish federal standards for death counts after disasters, a bill to create a ‘9-11 style’ commission to examine the federal response and have also requested a GAO analysis. While we may never truly know how many lives were lost, I can only hope these latest numbers create momentum for my legislation and, more broadly, for Congress to provide adequate resources for Puerto Rico to fully recover and for both the national and local governments to be better prepared in the future.”