Ricardo Rosselló’s New Commission to Study How Island Reports Deaths
Following the deaths of 2,975 in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, Governor Ricardo Rosselló on Friday issued an executive order which created the 9/20 Committee. The move by Rosselló comes after a year of criticism of his administration’s severe undercounting of deaths following Hurricane Maria, which struck the entire island on September 20th of last year. The 19-member Committee consists of public health and administration specialists that will assist the government by creating and revising death certification protocols as well as improving accountability and the management of information regarding fatalities caused by natural and man-made disasters. The aftermath of the storm revealed the lack of “its vulnerability in facing these types of disasters, especially when tallying fatalities directly and indirectly caused by the storm,” the government said. The Committee is designed to help establish protocols to implement the recommendations made in the George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health’s report -- which found that the nearly 3,000 excess deaths were either directly or indirectly attributable to the storm. “As we enter the long-term reconstruction of our island, we are committed to building a safer, more resilient Puerto Rico. This Committee will play a key role in the future of Puerto Rico, as it will establish the appropriate protocols and guidelines so that we are better prepared in the face of a disaster such as Hurricane María,” Rosselló said. More here.