US President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on August 28, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN—AFP/Getty Images
By Associated Press
August 28, 2018

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — The White House is responding to a new estimate that dramatically increases the Hurricane Maria death toll in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico’s governor on Tuesday raised the U.S. territory’s official death toll from 64 to 2,975 after an independent study. That’s almost twice the government’s previous estimate.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says in a statement that the back-to-back hurricanes that hit last year prompted “the largest domestic disaster response mission in history.”

She says President Donald Trump “remains proud of all of the work the Federal family undertook to help our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico.”

She also says the federal government “will continue to be supportive” of Gov. Ricardo Rossello’s accountability efforts and says “the American people, including those grieving the loss of a loved one, deserve no less.”

The new estimate of 2,975 dead in the six months after Maria devastated the island in September 2017 was made by researchers with the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. It was released Tuesday.

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