Amid accusations that Puerto Rico did not count all the deaths related to the devastating passage of Hurricane Maria on the island this summer, the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Roselló, ordered the authorities to properly examine the cases of each one. of the deceased reported, taking into account the circumstances of death.
“We always knew that the number of deaths due to the hurricane would increase when we received more confirmed information, without rumors, and this revision will guarantee that we have counted all correctly,” the governor said earlier in the week.
Faced with this need, shortly after, the respected Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) of Puerto Rico, proposed the creation of a database that reflects the reality of the deaths and, to that end, launched a form on the Internet that seeks to collect from independently that information with the collaboration of relatives and relatives of the fatal victims.
“The idea with this initiative is that the relatives of the deceased, many of whom have already told us their stories, enter and complete the form to let us know the circumstances in which their loved one died,” said Carla Minet, executive director of the CPI, an organization that defends the right of citizens to access information.
“This is a way to contrast and corroborate if the information provided by the government is complete, and then make it available to the public. After all, it is an independent record that will help analyze what happened to dead people and that information will also tell us what we have to do to prevent this tragedy from happening again, “he said.
As reported by the group of investigative journalists, the official number of deaths related to the hurricane is 64, “even though the preliminary numbers of the same government confirm that from September 20 to October 30 on the island there were at least 985 excess deaths in comparison with 2016. This raises at least 921 deaths that the state recognizes that occurred above normal, but to which it does not explain. ”
The ICC asks for help to identify unaccounted hurricane deaths. Although the current death toll includes deaths from heart attacks, suicides or respiratory problems, there are critics who argue that the government is including those for whom the storm and the hardships it caused were factors.
The form is completed online with basic information that will then be corroborated by phone calls and documents. The results will be later analyzed by the Quartz team and the CPI, as well as experts in matters of demography, statistics and public health.
Quartz is a native digital media dedicated to data journalism. The Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI), located in the Law School of the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico, is an independent organization that promotes access to information for the people of Puerto Rico through three channels: investigative journalism, litigation and and journalistic training.