Lawmakers Call for Study on Improved Practices for Counting Disaster-Related Mortalities

Representative Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced companion bills in the Senate and House of Representatives to required FEMA to conduct a study and report on best practices in conducting mortality counts after major disasters. “Whether it be Hurricane Maria or another natural disaster to come,” Ms. Kamala Harris stated, “the accuracy of the death toll has a direct impact on an area’s recovery.” These bills come in response to a Harvard study that found the death toll in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria to be over 4600, far higher than the official count of 64.