Trump says Hurricane Maria death toll number was made up by Democrats

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"Pretty sure he died of old age, '" he continued.

In all, the storm and its aftermath took the lives of unfortunates like Gonzalez and thousands of others, many of whom could have been saved with standard medical treatment.

Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello also has criticized Trump for not providing additional federal funds still needed for emergency housing and debris removal. The photographer, Abdiel Santana, said he first spotted the stockpile of what could be millions of water bottles past year but took the photos after seeing it in the same place during a recent trip to the island.

Trump tweeted at 7:05 p.m. Friday, about four hours after the first reported deaths from Florence were announced, that he visited Puerto Rico last October and was told by officials on the island that 16 people had died.

"Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said on Tuesday, adding that the island was fraught with issues prior to the hurricane. He further claimed that he "successfully [raised] Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico".

Gidley cited studies that attributed fewer than 3,000 deaths on the island to Maria.

Santos-Burgoa said the stress of the moment and confusion over how deaths were supposed to be noted contributed to an underreporting of how many died from the storm.

"We are ready for the big one that is coming!" he added.

There was a higher and more persistent risk of death for people living in "low socioeconomic development municipalities" while men aged 65 and over "experienced continuous elevated risk of death through February".

Nearly a year after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, there is a lot of pressure on FEMA to respond effectively to Florence. On Aug. 27, the Puerto Rican government put the number of dead at 2,975, a total based on a George Washington University study commissioned by the Puerto Rico government that includes deaths caused or not prevented because the island's infrastructure was decimated. Previous reports from the Puerto Rican government said the number was closer to 1,400.

"Trump resurfaced the debate this week when he boasted about his administration's response to the humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico". "I think that Puerto Rico was an incredible, unsung success", he had said. He said because the base is a restricted zone, he's not able to get there. Without air-conditioning or power, she developed steadily worsening bedsores.

"As the water started to come back through the regular water system, and that started to increase, 90, 95 percent of people had water in their homes, there was less and less of a demand for the bottled water that was on the island", Bahamonde said. Cruz had earlier described the federal disaster response in the USA territory a "despicable act of neglect". But patients needed to be referred by San Juan's main public hospital rather than showing up directly for treatment, a complicated process. Bill Nelson called the president's comments "shameful".

Associated Press Writers Danica Coto and Colleen Long contributed to this report.

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