SAN JUAN – The Hurricane Maria death toll has more than doubled to 34, Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello announced Tuesday, hours after President Trump paid a visit to the island.
Earlier in the day, during a visit to the storm-ravaged island, President Donald Trump praised officials in Puerto Rico for the fact that only 16 people died.
“Sixteen versus in the thousands,” he said, comparing Maria’s impact to that of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. “You can be very proud of all of your people, all of our people working together. Sixteen versus literally thousands of people. You can be very proud.”
Residents are in desperate need of assistance. Almost all private homes and businesses are still without power and nearly half the island lacked access to water and sewage treatment.
Sixty-five percent of grocery stores are currently in operation and less than one-fifth of Puerto Rico’s cellular towers are working.
Rosselló said that though aid is getting to the island, distribution of the supplies was a major issue.
“We have delivered food and water, and it hasn’t gotten to some people,” he said. “They didn’t listen, couldn’t hear, the information didn’t get to them.”
“I recognize there are still people that might not have gotten those resources.”