Trump re­news claim on rise in Hur­ri­cane Maria death toll

The Asian Age - - World -

■ HEALTH EX­PERTS es­ti­mated that nearly 3,000 per­ished due to Hur­ri­cane Maria ■ TRUMP HAS re­peat­edly ques­tioned that num­ber over the last cou­ple of days.

Wash­ing­ton, Sept. 15: As Trop­i­cal Storm Flor- ence in­un­dated the Caro- linas on Fri­day, US Pres- ident Don­ald Trump cir­cled back to his claim that the of­fi­cial death toll from a dev­as­tat­ing storm a year ear­lier in Puerto Rico was in­flated and said the num­ber of dead seemed to rise from dou­ble dig­its to 3,000 “like magic.”

Pub­lic health ex­perts have es­ti­mated that nearly 3,000 per­ished be­cause of ef­fects of Hur­ri­cane Maria. How­ever, Trump, whose ef­forts to help the is­land ter­ri­tory re­cover have been per­sis­tently crit­i­cised, has re­peat­edly ques­tioned that num­ber over the last cou­ple of days.

“FIFTY TIMES LAST ORIG­I­NAL NUM­BER - NO WAY!” he tweeted late Fri­day.

Trump falsely ac­cused Democrats on Thurs­day of in­flat­ing the Puerto Ri­can toll to make him “look as bad as pos­si­ble.”

He said just six to 18 peo­ple had been re­ported dead when he vis­ited two weeks af­ter the Oc­to­ber 2017 storm and sug­gested that many were added later “if a per­son died for any rea­son, like old age.”

When Trump vis­ited Puerto Rico, the death toll at the time was in­deed 16 peo­ple. The num­ber was later raised to 64, but the gov­ern­ment then com­mis­sioned an in­de­pen­dent study to de­ter­mine how many died be­cause of post- storm con­di­tions.

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