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Puerto Rico faced the fury of Hurricane Maria two months back, and many of the residents are still living in shelters. As requested by Gov. Ricardo Rosselló, the Federal Emergency Management Agency plans to relocate 3000 such persons to makeshift shelters in New York and Florida.

A spokesman for FEMA has clarified that, till now, the agency has never undertaken such an activity. It does find alternate housing for hurricane victims, but these are usually located nearby. That cannot be done for Puerto Rico where there is a scarcity of lodging. Therefore, they will be shifted out of the island by charter flights. However, the schedule for flying them out has not been announced.

President Donald Trump had praised the authorities for their quick response which ensured a low Death Toll compared to disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Confusion on the death toll

New York Times reports that there is confusion on the number of people who died in Puerto Rico because of Hurricane Maria. Officials have acknowledged that the number of people who died in September was more in comparison to the corresponding period last year. Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, and the official death toll continues to remain at 55. The breakup is 20 direct deaths, 31 indirect deaths, and four more from a waterborne disease.

It seems the death toll showed an upward trend after the waters receded, and the roads were cleared. This could be attributed to several factors like rising temperatures, and lack of electricity which affected the working in hospitals.

Since many of the patients were elderly people, they succumbed to the inevitable.

In the opinion of experts, temperature control is critical in the hospitals, especially when the patients are aged persons or are seriously ill. After Hurricane Irma struck South Florida, eight seniors died in a single day because the air conditioning in the nursing home had failed.

Doctors must ensure clarity

In view of the controversy related to the death toll, the government has clarified that doctors are responsible for certifying the cause of death. It seems nearly 30,000 doctors had attended to the victims of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and signed the death certificates. They should have clarified whether the death was attributed to lack of adequate facilities like air conditioning or dialysis. The government has also indicated that if anyone feels there is a discrepancy, he can follow the laid down procedures, and take it up with the authorities.