The government’s official count of the dead stood at 16 for days after the Category 4 hurricane plowed through, even as an island-wide power outage and a widespread lack of diesel raised deep worries about the fate of sick and frail residents who needed hospital treatment, regular dialysis and other necessary care.
The new numbers show that the storm and its aftermath were not only deadlier than originally thought, but deadlier than President Trump apparently realized when he told Puerto Ricans on Tuesday that they should be proud that only 16 had died in the storm.
“Sixteen versus in the thousands,” Mr. Trump said as he visited the island, comparing the toll with the 1,833 killed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. More than 80 people were killed by Hurricane Harvey, which devastated Texas in late August, according to government figures and news reports.
At the news conference, Governor Rosselló also responded to Mr. Trump’s comment in an interview with Fox News that his administration could help the island wipe out its crushing $73 billion debt.
“That is the president’s opinion,” Governor Rosselló said. “I am concerned only with actions and not words. I am concerned with getting the people of Puerto Rico what they need.”
He said 91 percent of the island is still without power with no swift improvement in sight. He said he expects that a month from now, 75 percent will still be without power.
Other areas have shown improvement. He said 70 percent of supermarkets and 76 percent of gas stations are now operational, and about 43 percent of the island now has telecommunications, compared with 25 percent last week. Roughly half the island still does not have access to water.
There have been 246,000 applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency individual assistance in the past two days, said Alejandro De La Campa, the FEMA regional director.
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