>> Hurricane Maria may go down as one of the deadliest disasters in American history. On Tuesday, the official toll went up from just 64 people killed to nearly 3,000 in the six months after the storms slammed into Puerto Rico. The first number was widely considered as far too low, and the new tally is much larger than the worst estimate of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
It comes from a study of excess deaths from Maria ordered by the US territories government. It's an estimate, not a concrete death count, but hours after it came out, Governor Ricardo Rossello said it would be adopted as the official account of lives lost.>> It is a time to show solidarity with all of those who have lost family and friends.
It is also a time to reflect on what we did well and what we did badly so that we have a better response in the future.>> Maria's earlier lower death toll has been a source of controversy. Emergency response became a politically charged issue after the White House under US President Donald Trump was slammed for being too slow both in recognizing how bad the damage was and in providing relief.
In early October last year Trump had said he was satisfied with the response and said Maria was better than a, real catastrophe like Katrina. Death toll estimates until now have been both thousands higher and lower than Tuesdays number which has been build as the most comprehensive yet. The next phase of the study is set to look at how and why Maria became so deadly.