The BBC has published an article detailing new findings on Hurricane Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico. While the official number is 64, a new Harvard University study estimates that the actual death toll is more than 4,600. Broken roads and extensive power outages interrupted medical care, contributing to a third of deaths after the hurricane. Six months after the storm, thousands of Puerto Ricans are still without electricity, and many are struggling to pay for expensive generators that run vital life support equipment.
Disruption to health care was a “growing contributor to both morbidity and mortality” in natural disasters, they said, because growing numbers of patients had chronic diseases and used sophisticated equipment that relied on electricity.
The full report can be read by clicking the images below or on The BBC’s website.
Soon after Hurricane Maria’s devastating passage through Puerto Rico, RMF sent a team to conduct a needs assessment, bring some initial medical supplies, and form local connections. Drawing upon RMF’s emergency health programs and lessons learned in various countries, our response in Puerto Rico includes the implementation of transitional and temporary health posts, such as mobile clinic and outreach services that will seek to provide lifesaving interventions. We are supporting the operations of 5 health clinics. We also plan to support the Vega Alta Clinic by providing medications and human resources; this clinic will act as a hub for medical outreach activities. Read more about our initiative on our Hurricane Maria Relief page.