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August 28, 2018

Thompson Statement on New Hurricane Maria Death Toll Study

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on news reports of a George Washington University study, commissioned by the Governor of Puerto Rico, estimating the death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico at 2,975, now the official death count:

“It is depressing that on the week of 13th Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, we have received yet another study on the death toll from Hurricane Maria telling us that the effects of the storm and woefully inadequate Federal response efforts were nothing short of catastrophic for Puerto Rico.  The latest study, commissioned by the Puerto Rican government, puts the tragedy of Hurricane Maria on the same scale as the September 11th attacks.  Because FEMA and the Federal government were simply unprepared, thousands of our fellow American citizens have perished – and we now know that the poor and elderly were the most at risk.  The Trump Administration has been in denial about the gravity of Hurricane Maria since the storm made landfall last year.  President Trump and FEMA still fail to recognize that many still need help from our government.”

"Having visited Puerto Rico in the days after the storm, it was clear that the truth of what was happening on the island was not getting through to the American public. We have asked the Government Accountability Office to investigate the death toll from Hurricane Maria but we still have yet to see any appetite from Congressional Republicans to properly and fully investigate what happened in Puerto Rico.  I would rather state, almost one year after Maria, that FEMA has learned serious lessons from its inadequate response, but with this year's hurricane season well underway, FEMA has not shown us that it is ready for anything resembling the same level of catastrophic weather Americans endured last year.”

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Media contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978