Increase in Puerto Rico death toll not surprising, says U-M expert

Nearly a year after Hurricane Maria researchers are upping the death toll in Puerto Rico, saying it now stands at 2,975 from the original 64. Creators of a joint University of Michigan-Notre Dame Teach-out announced Monday by the two universities are not surprised by this number. Will Potter, U-M distinguished lecturer and senior academic innovation fellow, led one of two teams that interviewed more than 30 Puerto Ricans about life after Hurricane Maria. Among his interviews featured in this documentary was a physician who talked about bodies still unidentified in containers (about 9:00 on the video)

Potter can be reached for expert comment. Contact: 202-340-8133, [email protected]

"My career as an investigative journalist has been spent covering civil liberties and human rights abuses, so I have grown a thick skin when it comes to dark experiences. But what we saw in Puerto Rico truly shocked us. A local doctor who has spent his life helping his community drove me around the central medical district. He took us to a series of shipping container, which were marked 'MASS DISASTER RELIEF' on the sides. He said that inside of them are the bodies of more than 300 victims of Hurricane Maria. Neither the U.S. government nor local government have made any official statement about this, and in my interview confronting the head of FEMA, he would not even acknowledge the bodies in the containers were connected to the hurricane. Now, as the 'official' death toll continues to radically increase, it's clear that the whole story needs to be exposed. The humanitarian crisis is much greater than people in power have ever acknowledged. We hope this documentary and Teach-Out from the University of Michigan will help show the hidden reality of what the people of Puerto Rico continue to experience."



The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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