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CHC Chair on New Puerto Rico Death Toll Study

May 30, 2018
Press Release
Washington, DC – Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chair Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01) issued this statement on findings from a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and other institutions that estimated 4,645 excess deaths as a result of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico:
“The new mortality study showing that the death toll from Hurricane Maria is roughly 70 times higher than the Trump administration’s official death toll is appalling and disturbing. The study corroborates the reports from our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico and countless other leaders who sounded the alarm about the truly devastating impact of Hurricane Maria and shows the deadly consequences of the Trump Administration’s haphazard and inadequate disaster response.
“It is inexcusable that the Trump Administration failed to prepare and immediately respond to the needs of citizens in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria and disgraceful that they tried to downplay the impact of one of the deadliest natural disasters in American history for political purposes. In the absence of a sufficient federal response, our fellow American citizens have done all they can to bring some normalcy to their communities. Despite their self-reliance and determination, too many American citizens continue to live under intolerable conditions - without access to clean water, food and electricity.
“President Trump and his administration’s failure to meet one of the most basic responsibilities of the federal government is a glaring example of gross negligence. The Trump Administration must be held accountable for failing our fellow American citizens. They have a responsibility to do all they can to provide those in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands with the same rapid and robust response and recovery efforts that other American disaster zones have received.”
The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC), founded in December 1976, is organized as a Congressional Member organization, governed under the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives. The CHC is dedicated to voicing and advancing, through the legislative process, issues affecting Hispanics in the United States, Puerto Rico and U.S. Territories.