White House supports 'full accountability' for Puerto Rico hurricane deaths

White House supports 'full accountability' for Puerto Rico hurricane deaths
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The Trump administration said Tuesday that it would continue to support efforts from Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to ensure "full accountability" and "transparency" surrounding the death toll caused by Hurricane Maria.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that victims of last year's hurricane, which was estimated this week to have killed nearly 3,000 people on the U.S. territory, "deserve no less" than the government's full support.


"The federal government has been, and will continue to be, supportive of Governor Rosselló's efforts to ensure a full accountability and transparency of fatalities resulting from last year's hurricanes — the American people, including those grieving the loss of a loved one, deserve no less," Sanders said.

"The federal government will continue to support the Government of Puerto Rico and the Puerto Rican communities in their recovery from Hurricanes Irma and Maria for years to come," she continued.

Puerto Rico's government officially updated the death toll on the island from just 64 in an initial estimate to 2,975, with Rosselló telling reporters that he personally "made mistakes" in the weeks following the storm's landfall.

“I agree that we could be and should be more effective on the operational side … I agree I made mistakes," Rosselló said at a press conference. "This could have been done differently."

“Everybody is [going to be held accountable]. This is a review process ... and everybody is going to be expected to make change, and if they can’t make change, then they cannot be in the administration,” he added.

A Harvard study earlier this year previously threw into doubt Puerto Rico's initial estimated death toll, with the study's researchers claiming that more than 4,000 people died on the island as a result of the storm.