Did 3,000 People Really Die Due To Hurricane Maria?

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  1. Sharlee01 profile image84
    Sharlee01posted 4 years ago

    If one takes the time to check previous death statistics for Puerto Rico they will find the highest death toll in many years was in 2016, well before the hurricane Maria.  Puerto Rico has experienced a high yearly mortality rate for many years.  I have added a link with a chart that shows Puerto Rico's death statistics from 2000 to 2017. The death statistics are very predictable from year to year until 2011, they then began to climb steadily until 2016.   The mortality rate actually goes down in 2017, the year of hurricane Maria.  It much appears the media has skewed the truth in regards to the actual death toll from hurricane Maria. The link   It is clear the death toll rose very little in 2017 due to the hurricane.  In fact, the death statistics show a decline from 2016 to 2017.  It seems the media did not do their diligence before reporting the death toll that occurred due to hurricane Maria.  It well appears some media networks report the yearly mortality statistics and skewed the context...  Perhaps unfairly leaving the impression that over 3,000 people perished due to the hurricane.  Some news jocks went so far to compare the number of deaths at the World Trade Center.

       Should this kind of reporting be considered "fake news" or should it be considered dishonest?


    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Fox News propaganda designed to protect Trump once again.

      1. The "media" didn't invent the death toll. It came from the Milken Institute of Public Health at George Washington University.

      2. Another study by Harvard put the death toll at 4,645. The media didn't invent that one either.

      3. Your link goes to a page about the average death rate in Puerto Rico per 1,000 population due to any cause and not because of hurricanes. In any single year, the total can nudge up or down for all kinds of reasons.

      4. The 2,975 reported deaths from Maria is only 0.09% of Puerto Rico's total population of 3.4 million people. So they would have little impact even on your misleading chart.

      If you really want to make your case, prove that Harvard and George Washington are lying and part of a conspiracy to attack Trump.

      https://www.snopes.com/news/2018/06/04/ … erto-rico/

      1. IslandBites profile image89
        IslandBitesposted 4 years agoin reply to this
        1. Castlepaloma profile image75
          Castlepalomaposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          You live in Puerto Rico. Do most people there,  think a least 3000  were lost, due to the hurricane?

          1. IslandBites profile image89
            IslandBitesposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            Yes. We've always knew that 64 was a "joke".

        2. profile image0
          promisemposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          You're welcome!

        3. GA Anderson profile image91
          GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Hi Islandbites, given your direct association with this issue, and that you linked to the study, it seems appropriate to launch from your comment.

          I did read the entire study, and was almost done with a lengthy and wordy response - when Bam! it just disappeared. Damn!

          And geesh! Those study folks were even worse than me when it comes to using a dozen words to say something that could have been said with just three or four words. It was a task to read that thing.

          So here a short-hand versiuon of the bottom line I got from the study.

          - Their number is a guess. An educated and very thoroughly researched guess, but still just a guess. That they used the term "excess mortality" is their way of saying so.

          But ... my point is related to the way that number is being misused as a political club, so whether it is accurate or not, is not an issue. I do think the official Puerto Rican government, (and hence the U.S. government), numbers were bogus.

          - Almost the entirety of the blame for the inaccuracy of, or inability to ascertain, actual fatality numbers is attributed to the Puerto Rican government.

          - Their number of deaths that they are attributing to the hurricane occurred on a time line as long as five months. Which means that someone that died five months after the hurricane is being counted as a direct result of the hurricane.

          For instance; Someone under care for a medical condition at the time of the hurricane, whose condition was complicated by the hurricane's effects on the electrical grid or access infrastructure - and died five months later from those complications, is being counted as a death directly responsibly to the hurricane.

          - I found nothing in the study, whose purpose was to evaluate the counting process, not to ascertain any responsibility for cause of death - beyond being hurricane related, that pointed to failed Trump Administration efforts.

          To the contrary, many of the inadequacy of the Puerto Rican government reasons they cited as why there were no credible counts, noted areas that FEMA and our government have poured tons of money and effort into.

          So, if this study deals with the failed accounting of hurricane-related deaths - primarily by the Puerto Rican government, why is it being used to criticize the Trump administration?

          *IslandBites, a note about your example of multiple deaths in a mudslide that went unreported. One of the study's criticism of the Puerto Rican government was that they had no established programs, protocols, or procedures for reporting and recording such natural disaster effects. There may have been no one to report those deaths to, even if someone wanted to. Or, there may have been no protocol for their deaths to be passed up the chain of command - even if they were reported to someone locally.

          The question remains ... why are folks getting away with using a study, which is almost entirely confined to the Puerto Rican government, as a club against the Trump administration?


          1. Sharlee01 profile image84
            Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

            I have been researching Puerto Rico's yearly mortality rate from 2000 through  2017. `It statistics have been relatively stable until 2011. The rate began to increase at that point. It showed that the highest mortality rate was in 2016, and actually, the rate went down in 2017. These statistics have given me a good reason to question the death rate the media is reporting in regard to Hurricane Maria.  I too have read the Harvard study, finding it wordy and confusing. I also was taken back by the disclaimer at the bottom of the study. Over the past years, I have become disgusted with the media blatantly reporting stories out of context. Perhaps pointing out this form of dishonesty is not popular?  I have found it very hard as of late to ignore the media getting away with stretching the truth, to put it mildly. All in the name of a clear political agenda.

            I obtained my statistic's from a well-respected organization that clearly has no political agenda.  index Mundi,  this organization collects raw data from all over the world. It's odd how easily some can disparage such an organization just because they can. I have to question some peoples thought process.  https://www.indexmundi.com/g/g.aspx?c=rq&v=26

          2. IslandBites profile image89
            IslandBitesposted 4 years agoin reply to this

            No one, at least in PR, is saying PR government is without responsibility. I don't like the administration (I really DON'T LIKE THEM! lol ) yet, I'm willing to give them "a pass" because it was chaos here. There was NO way to communicate, there was no electricity, no cellphone towers, no roads, etc. Heck, even some government member lost their houses and family members. So my main issue with them is, mainly that they insisted in the 64 number when we knew it was wrong. From the beginning, there were organizations here in PR that told them so. They also, for political reasons, didn't wanted to demand or criticized the federal government.

            Our political situation is too complex to understand all the process and the whys in a forum.

            The issue with these studies (like Harvard's and GWU) is that there is no way to count bodies. That's the standard way to estimate deaths in big natural disasters.
            There was no way to do autopsies. In fact, there are still 300+ bodies in trailers waiting for autopsies.

            FEMA took control, that's why we also criticized them. The response was slow. And we know the process because it was not the first hurricane to hit us. Ex, they began to gave the famous blue tarps weeks later. That was not our experience before.
            That's just a "stupid" example, because this message would be too long.

            I get that "the number" is used as a political club (what isn't?). But you know why? Because Trump declared everything was great, a couple of weeks after the hurricane. The same day he compared hurricane Maria and Katrina, a real catastrophe. The same day he joked that we threw his budget out of whack. He consistently has said that his administration response was great, the best, even when FEMA has said it wasn't. Then, he keeps tweeting BS about our deaths, and making it all about himself. Sure, cause Harvard, GWU and so, all did studies only because they want to get him. roll

            I know why he's doing it. That's how he operates. He says a stupid thing, make a big issue out of it every time he needs a distraction. Good timing for Manafort's deal.

            It is sad that so many ignorant people believe everything he says.

      2. Sharlee01 profile image84
        Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Not sure if you are acquainted with index Mundi? They are a very respected organization that collects raw data from all over the world. If you study the mortality data on Puerto Rico you might feel very differently in regards to just pure data...   Yes, the link I offered does use the average death rate in Puerto Rico per 1,000 population. As they did in previous years. It gives an indication based on that increment. They did not break down the causation of deaths. However,  the chart gives a representation of in a raw percentage of mortality year by year. If you checked the chart you can surmise my point...   I will look in depth at the Harvard study.


        I have done some reading on the Harvard study on the deaths attributed to Maria. They actually did use the same method as Index Mundi to come to their raw statistic.on the death toll.

        It also appears that the researchers have a disclaimer. "The researchers caution that their estimate is uncertain due to its limited size, but propose that surveys offer a cost-effective, rapid approach to assessing the impact of hurricanes when infrastructure is damaged."

        https://fxb.harvard.edu/2018/05/29/stud … ane-maria/

  2. profile image0
    Ed Fisherposted 4 years ago

    NewsFlash *  It has now been proven in the media that hurricane Florence is actually Trumps fault for his feelings on global warming !

    Somebody better tell J--e , to go along with his other "Proof " of Trumpisms?

    1. profile image0
      promisemposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Thanks for your comment, Ahorseback.

    2. Castlepaloma profile image75
      Castlepalomaposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      You have seen nothing yet. Wait til America get flooded with oil and gas mixed with your water. Trump is seriously attempting to make America world number one for import and export of oil and gas. Light your tap water up and fire comes out. I seen it all in the oil sands of Canada.

      He won't push to hard on nuclear and coal power because other natural energy are starting to proven to be cheaper.

  3. IslandBites profile image89
    IslandBitesposted 4 years ago

    I get that you're parroting DT talking points, now that he's desperate to distract from Manafort's deal. But you have no idea what you're talking about.

    1. Sharlee01 profile image84
      Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      The statics show a very high yearly mortality rate for Puerto Rico. Not sure why this past year the mortality rate is being blamed on a Hurricane? 
      I am not defending Trump. I am defending common sense statistics.  Index Mundi collets data from all over the world, they have no biased agenda, just raw statistics.  I did not actually find Puerto Rico's mortality rate shocking.  I did find it shocking so many of 2017 deaths have been blamed on a hurricane?  Puerto Rico's mortality rate has been sadly very high for many years.

      1. profile image0
        promisemposted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Again, the average annual mortality rate from all causes has little to do with the number of people who died from Maria.

        And again, even if the total is 3,000 people, it has almost no impact on the overall mortality rate.

        1. Sharlee01 profile image84
          Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

          Actually, the Harvard study takes into account the average annual mortality rate? Not sure you read how the study was accomplished? It is a pretty complicated study... And as I quoted they don't completely stand behind the study. Not meaning to be argumentative, just stating what I have found after researching the media's account in regards to the number of deaths that occurred due to the hurricane.

  4. Live to Learn profile image60
    Live to Learnposted 4 years ago

    This reminds me of the recent NYT article on the outrageous cost of curtains in a government apartment. They knew, full well, the Obama administration purchased them but the article lambasted the Trump organization for the frivolity.

    Bias. It is America today. Hide the truth. Push the agenda.

    1. Sharlee01 profile image84
      Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Very true. I am always shocked when the media out and out lies. That kind of journalism is inexcusable as well as dangerous to our society. What more shocks me is that this kind of propaganda is well expected by some. Makes me wonder...

    2. profile image0
      promisemposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      Fake news.

      Following review, The Times concluded that the story had "created an unfair impression about who was responsible for the purchase in question."

      An editor's note placed at the top of the revised story stated that "the decision on leasing the ambassador's residence and purchasing the curtains was made during the Obama administration, according to current and former officials."

      "The article should not have focused on Ms. Haley, nor should a picture of her have been used," the editor's note concluded. "The article and headline have now been edited to reflect those concerns, and the picture has been removed."

      https://money.cnn.com/2018/09/14/media/ … index.html

      1. Sharlee01 profile image84
        Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

        Wonder how many did not read the revised article and still believe it, and are still maligning Nikki Haley?   Hopefully, she will sue the NYT. This is just what some of us have come to expect. Some refuse to see the truth that journalism is being hijacked by dishonest media outlets. Some of us see directly through these kinds of fake stories, some just eat it up...

  5. IslandBites profile image89
    IslandBitesposted 4 years ago


    I, for the most part, ignore these discussions about PR because there are a lot of ignorant people talking sh!t as if they were experts.

    But, Im doing an effort because I know there are people that really want to learn more.

    But it is really an effort. Mainly because it is still raw. I've being meaning to write a hub, I just can't yet. I still can't watch videos, read stories or talk about it without crying. And it's a lot.

    Also, because the struggle (with english) is real. lol

    1. Sharlee01 profile image84
      Sharlee01posted 4 years agoin reply to this

      IslandBites, First you have my apology for not understanding your pain... I am truly sorry.  My original question "Should this kind of reporting be considered "fake news" or should it be considered dishonest?"  I had hoped to point out once again the media is using an incident that did cause many people suffering and pain to suit their bias agenda.  I am not at all defending Trump for his ridiculous tweets on the death toll due to  Hurricane Maria. The tweet was shocking, and I am sure hurtful to the Puerto Rican people.  I was trying to point out we now have a media that cares little about the truth or the trouble, and yes hurt they cause.  I hope you will write a hub and share your experience with hurricane Maria, and its aftermath.  We need to hear the truth you can provide.

    2. GA Anderson profile image91
      GA Andersonposted 4 years agoin reply to this

      I hadn't noticed a struggle with your English IslandBites, so either I am inattentive, or you hide your inadequacy well. I would go with the latter, but my wife would probably point to the former.

      I haven't addressed FEMA's response to Maria because I haven't looked into it. Logic tells me that their job was much harder responding to an island territory so far away from our mainland - the probable location of most of their resources, and, because of the inadequacies of the Puerto Rican government that I have read about.

      Beyond that, I know little about FEMA's response, or, Puerto Rican's view of it - beyond your comments of course. For this discussion I think I will leave it that way. A counter-argument would only seem crass - whether it was valid or not.

      Relative to your comments about Pres. Trump's words and actions ... I still say folks don't need to create spin, (like the spin of the study results), and that spin reflects poorly on them when it can't be supported..

      Just go with what he hands you. It should be more than enough.



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