A Year After Hurricane Maria, the Death Toll is Nearly 3,000

By Isaiah Reese

Elm Staff Writer

In recent weeks, we’ve learned that the death toll in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s landfall in Puerto Rico last year was not the 64 fatalities originally reported, but could actually be a figure of 2,975, or even larger. Hurricane Maria formed on Sept. 16, 2017, and reached the island territory four days later, on Sept. 20.

CNN released an article about the spike in deaths titled, “How Puerto Rico’s death toll climbed from 64 to 2,975 in Hurricane Maria,” which brought some interesting facts about the situation to light. Gov. Ricardo Rossello claimed that George Washington University’s findings are only an approximation, saying “this number can change … it could be less, it could be more, as time passes.” The University’s study was commissioned by the U.S. Commonwealth’s Government.

Two days after the chaos, Rossello told CNN that there was only a total of 13 casualties. Two weeks following the storm, the face of all faces, President Donald Trump, decided to go to Puerto Rico to share his sympathy. The U.S. president said, “every death is a horror.” Indeed, the statement was, and still is, true. However, to what extent did the president mean it?

During Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico, there was a moment when he was throwing paper towels into a crowd. This moment is representative of his actions regarding the entire Puerto Rican crisis. The act itself was disrespectful and insubstantial. It shows us the depth of Trump’s character both as a president and a person. It should be clear that he doesn’t care about the Puerto Rican people. Following this throwing of paper towels into a crowd of American citizens, he tried to justify his actions, saying “I was having fun,” reported NBC News.

Last updated on Aug. 17 by CBS News, it was reported that all of the donations for Puerto Rico had finally been distributed. These donations were stocked and prepared for the island’s citizens months ago, however, they were all found being “left to rot” in the parking lot of a government facility. They had been there for 11 months.

It is ridiculous that the supplies donated to the people of Puerto Rico were not distributed in a timely fashion, since the president went to show his face in Puerto Rico two weeks later, which in his mind was acting with immediacy. How come he didn’t take more aggressive steps to ensure that those American citizens would receive the immediate aid they needed?

An anonymous op-ed was recently released in The New York Times discussing a group of in-house Trump administration resistors. This band of heroes, as reported in the op-ed, deliberately and secretly resists some of the actions and policy decisions the president wishes to take, doing their best to ensure he doesn’t make any moves that would severely damage our country.

That fact that members within Trump’s own administration don’t trust their Commander-in-Chief says a lot about the state of the White House and what is going on inside of it. This causes me to question if Trump actually went to Puerto Rico in its time of need so he could help, or if he went for more selfish reasons. I suspect the latter, and perhaps this is why we are getting such a disheartening update on the death toll caused by the hurricane.

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