FEMA chief: Too much blame around on Puerto Rico deaths

September 16, 2018 - 1:03 pm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration's disaster relief chief says "the numbers are all over the place" from studies on Hurricane Maria-related deaths in Puerto Rico.

Brock Long says he doesn't "know why the studies were done." He's differentiating between direct deaths from the 2017 storm and "indirect" ones, such as people by falling off their roof while making a repair or in a crash at an intersection when stoplights aren't working.

Independent researchers at George Washington University estimated 2,975 deaths were related to Maria in the six months following the hurricane. Local and federal governments have been heavily criticized for inadequate planning and post-storm response.

President Donald Trump last week disputed the count, saying it had been inflated "by the Democrats in order to make me look as bad as possible."