The governor of Puerto Rico has officially ordered an investigation into the number of lives lost in Hurricane Maria. Gov. Ricardo Rosselló made the announcement Monday (Dec. 18) following recent media reports that debunked the island’s official tally of 64 deaths.
“I welcomed recent news analysis on the number of hurricane-related deaths, and that they may be higher than the official count certified to date,” Rosselló said in a statement according to CNN. “Those reports used the data provided by the Puerto Rico Demographic Registry, but the Government needs to [investigate] if the increase of the deaths is related directly or indirectly with Hurricane Maria.”
Earlier in the month, the New York Times released an extensive analysis that found more than 1,000 people died from Hurricane Maria. The outlet was one of a few different publications to investigate the death toll, and ongoing relief efforts in the U.S. territory.