Downed electrical poles at Playa Punta Santiago in Humacao, Puerto Rico in December 2017

Pedro Portal/El Nuevo Herald/TNS/Sipa USA

Puerto Rican Gov't Says 1,427 People May Have Died In Hurricane Maria

August 09, 2018 - 5:21 pm

SAN JUAN (WCBS 880) -- The Puerto Rican government now says 1,427 people may have died as a result of Hurricane Maria.

As WCBS 880's Steve Burns reported, some still aren't buying it.

U.S. Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-New York) said she isn’t sure whom she can believe anymore.

“It could be much higher than 1,400,” she said. “The issue for us is how could be trust what the government is telling us?”

Both the local government in Puerto Rico and the federal government have been obfuscating, Velázquez charged.

“They need to really come and say that there were errors; mistakes that were made,” she said.

Velázquez said officials owe that to the people who lost relatives in Hurricane Maria.

The Puerto Rican government stopped short of updating the official death toll, only releasing the new number in a congressional report. Officials insist it is still under review.

Velázquez wants to create a 9/11-style commission to examine the response.

She also has another bill pending, which she said will “set fairer standards for how death tolls are countered after any disaster.”

The official death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico has been set at 64, though some research has indicated that the hurricane was to blame for more than 4,600 deaths.