Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Trump denies 3,000 Puerto Ricans died due to Hurricane Maria, blames Democrats

Andrew Caballero  AFP  Getty ImagesA large rain cloud passes over a day before the arrival of hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Sept. 12 2018 Andrew Caballero AFP Getty ImagesA large rain cloud passes over a day before the arrival of hurricane Florence in Wilmington N.C. on Sept. 12 2018
Gerardo Duncan | 14 September, 2018, 18:13

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday rejected a scholarly study that concluded almost 3,000 people were killed previous year by Hurricane Maria on the island territory of Puerto Rico.

Mr. Trump inaccurately stated that only six to 18 people died "after" the storm hit the island and said Democrats padded the death toll by including, for example, a person who died of old age "in order to make me look as bad as possible".

The study, which was conducted without the backing of any political group, surveyed 3,000 residences across the United States' territory and found Puerto Ricans died at a much higher rate in the four months following the hurricane than in the same time period a year earlier. That figure was then compared to the number of deaths reported from September 2017, when the hurricane hit, to February 2018, when the island still struggled with blackouts and a shortages of essential supplies on the road to recovery.

Trump's Thursday morning tweets focused on a George Washington University study released last month that examined the toll from Hurricane Maria.

"My teams knew about it but first they will say, "no we cannot use them, ' months later water was no good for human consumption", he tweeted".

Hostin blamed the Jones Act, saying it allowed the US government to "pillage and rape" the island since its inception in 1920, before asking why Trump didn't have an equal reaction to Maria as President Obama did to Haiti, which isn't even a USA territory. "Bad politics. I love Puerto Rico!".

However Trump implied the death toll was revised for political reasons.

Brock Long, the head of the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), warned that Florence could "kill a lot of people".

The Trump tweet generated strong emotions of anger and sorrow.

Rosselló told CNN on Thursday that the Puerto Rican government is "confident" in the results of the study and that he has no reason to believe the estimate was part of an effort by Democrats to undermine the President.

The comments drew immediate anger from San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz, who called Trump's claim "delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality", the Independent says. She said he had no idea what is going on there and that Trump has "no empathy" for anything that doesn't make him look good.

'I'm confident that those that needed those bottles of water got them during the response phase and these were excess bottles of water that were, again, transferred to save money for the American taxpayer in January, ' Kaniewski said.

Maria destroyed Puerto Rico's electricity grid, leaving the island largely without power for weeks and crippling its health care system.

Florence was to be the first major test of FEMA since its response to the Puerto Rico disaster, which was widely criticised.

He was criticised for treating a visit to Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the hurricane like a rally, mimicking a basketball player as he threw paper towels to Puerto Rican residents at a local relief centre.

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