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Hurricane Death Toll Estimates For Puerto Rico


    by Andrew Zarowny, 9/14/2018


    How many people died either directly or indirectly in Puerto Rico from Hurricanes Maria and Irma? Officially, the death toll stands at 64. A later government study put it at 99, and a later one still kicked it up to over 1,000. A study by eggheads from Harvard estimated the death toll to range from 800 to 8,000. The latest by the Milken Institute at George Washington University puts it at 3,000. These studies are all estimates, based on one computer model or another. The only REAL number is the 64 from an actual body count at the time.


    So President Donald Trump is at least half correct in that the estimate of 3,000 is essentially ″made up″. He is incorrect only in that when he accused Democrats for being the ones who made up the estimate. He is correct that Democrats are merely using the estimate to attack his leadership and administration. The President is also correct in that his administration was highly praised for its disaster response efforts during the crisis. There is very little more that could have been done by the federal government.


    Indeed, we are now learning that quite a bit of the disaster relief sent by the federal government to Puerto Rico was never distributed by local relief efforts. Many containers and truck loads of supplies are still packed away, rotting to this day. Then we have the discovery of dozens of pallets of bottled water found on an airport tarmac covered by a blue tarp. One estimate is that this cache of water amounts to some 37.5 Million, half-liter bottles!


    If you recall, one of the big stories of the disaster relief in Puerto Rico dealt with a lack of truck drivers willing to work to deliver supplies. Some simply could not reach distribution centers or a port facility due to roadways blocked by debris, such as fallen trees and downed power lines. Local response during the first few days after the hurricanes was very chaotic. In addition, the problem was compounded by the general mismanagement of Puerto Rico by local elected officials, leaving the island territory more than $30 Billion dollars in debt prior to the two hurricanes. Much of the public infrastructure, including the electrical power grid, was old and poorly maintained, making any large-scale damage even more difficult to repair.


    There is only so much that the federal government can do. Just look at what is going on in North Carolina today as Hurricane Florence makes landfall. I saw on the news this morning that in the town of New Bern, northeast of Wilmington, a storm surge of over 10 feet has imperiled over 300 residents who chose to not evacuate. About 150 are begging to be rescued from the rooftops of their homes. This was well before the storm actually came on shore! Now, local police and firemen are battling the weather to save these fools. They had four days of warnings and a mandatory evacuation order which they chose to ignore. Now, they are clinging to their roofs amid rain driven by 100MPH winds.


    Is it President Trump′s fault that these dummies are now facing death and need to endanger the lives of others to rescue them? Of course not! At some point in time, we have to take personal responsibility. The folks in Puerto Rico kept reelecting idiots, mostly Democrats, and the result was a rundown infrastructure which could easily knocked out for weeks, if not months. That couldn′t even organize enough truck drivers to deliver sup-plies left rotting away. Some of those supplies were never delivered and are still rotting away! Sorry, but that is not the fault of President Trump. Neither is his refusal to accept some phony numbers about hurricane death toll estimates.


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