NEW YORK (FOX5NY.COM) - Puerto Rico is far from recovered three months after Hurricane Maria struck. Power generation is still at just 69 percent of normal. Some residents still don't have water service. The government of Puerto Rico is acknowledging more accountability is needed, starting by conducting a review of the storm's official death count, which is 64. Critics say that is far off from reality.
Analyses by both the New York Times and Puerto Rico's Center for Investigative Journalism have estimated the death count from the storm to be more than 1,000. Both outlets found the number of deaths in Puerto Rico in September and October to be substantially higher than in the same time period in previous years.
Now Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello is promising a review.
"We always expected that the number of hurricane-related deaths would increase as we received more factual information—not hearsay," he said in a statement. "And this review will ensure we are correctly counting everybody."
Conducting the review will require interviewing families and doctors for more information to determine whether deaths designated as natural, like say a heart attack, may have been brought on by the hurricane.
That is welcome news to New York City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, who has family in Puerto Rico. In remarks at New York City's hurricane evacuee service center, she said getting an accurate count is very important so that the extent of the devastation is known.
The mayor's fund has raised almost $200,000 to support storm evacuees and their families in New York City. Nearly 500 households who have relocated from Puerto Rice or the Virgin Islands to the city have received aid at the center.