Harvard says Puerto Rico Hurricane death toll is 73x the federal number – Trump is silent, NJ Dems are not

Above, tweet yesterday from @SenatorMenendez.

A Harvard University study, published in the New England Journal of Medicineis bringing a dose of reality to the Puerto Rico death toll after Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The official death toll? Just 64. The Harvard study estimate? At least 4,645 deaths as a direct result of the Hurricane, and a spike in mortality months after the storm.

That’s 73 times what our federal government’s been telling us. President Trump hasn’t found time to tweet about that at all, though he made time to talk about Roseanne Barr, the “rigged Russia Witch Hunt,” and his outrage that he thinks the “Failing and Corrupt New York Times” underestimates his crowd size, all in the day since Harvard’s report came out. Here’s who did manage to put that info out on Twitter to constituents:

New Jersey’s Congressional Delegation responds to the new Puerto Rico Hurricane death toll – or doesn’t
@FrankPallone states plainly that Trump botched the Puerto Rico relief effort.
@SenatorMenendez’ tweet is above. (@CoryBooker has not tweeted at all since the report came out 5/29)
@BillPascrell calls the Puerto Rico death toll “some of the grimmest news of my lifetime”
@RepSires cites the lack of power and medical care
@RepDonaldPayne cites FRONTLINE / NPR; federal response in PR lagged behind response to 2017 mainland hurricanes Irma & Harvey
@RepBonnie Watson Coleman reminds us hurricane season begins again June 1 – that’s Friday.
FYI – I didn’t find any Twitter references to the new death toll from Leonard Lance, Chris Smith, Rodney Frelinghuysen, Tom MacArthur, Frank LoBiondo, or Democrats Norcross or Gottheimer.

New Jersey has the 3rd-highest number of Puerto Ricans (434,092), following New York and Florida, per 2010 Census. That number’s higher now. Sen Nellie Pou, chair of the Legislature’s Latino Caucus, says more than 30,000 displaced Puerto Ricans have come here since the hurricane, and life is still very challenging for those remaining on the island; tens of thousands still without power, an economy expected to shrink 8% this year, businesses by the thousands unable to start up again, and a population in flux; 200,000 people moved out, with another 300,000 projected to leave in the next 5 years.

New Jersey knows from weather disasters, and we know not all our people have made it back to their lives here either. And New Jersey has a stake in its fellow Americans both newly here and grappling with damaged infrastructure in Puerto Rico, as does our Governor Murphy. An obligation not to feed on its housing foreclosure stock, and to lend the recovery resources we developed after Superstorm Sandy (minus, of course promoting Chris Christie at taxpayer expense). Sen. Menendez, touring the devastation days post-Maria, bristled at 45’s baseless attacks on San Juan’s mayor, and slow response to the disaster. Sen. Booker had his own criticisms of Trump’s pokey response, traveled there in January (though at least one Puerto Rico-born journalist didn’t think it was enough).

Enough or not, far more than 45 did.



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