Trump claims Hurricane Maria death toll in P.R. rose 'like magic'

Massive stockpile of bottled water found in Puerto Rico a year after Maria

Mr Trump tweeted today that Democrats were attacking him "when I was successfully raising Billions of Dollars to help rebuild Puerto Rico".

Even some Republicans suggested the president had gone too far.

"I have no reason to dispute those numbers", Ryan told reporters on Thursday. She then added, "It's sad to me that a natural disaster has to get political, I don't think President Trump is exclusively to blame for what happened, Puerto Rico had a number of its own problems before Maria even hit, they were filing for bankruptcy".

Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the USA, is home to some 3.3 million people.

The president has also questioned the findings of a detailed study commissioned by the Puerto Rico's government and claimed that its conclusion was politically motivated. The loss of any life is tragic; the extent of lives lost as a result of Maria is heart wrenching. The President has disputed this, leading to all sorts of acrimony, including the recent decision by House Hispanic Caucus to snub an invitation to the White House.

Having already drawn widespread criticism from members of his own party earlier this week for a claim made without evidence that the death toll was ginned up by Democrats in order to slime him, Trump once again tried to cast doubt on the estimated 2,975 killed by Hurricane Maria in the USA territory.

The true human cost of Maria, and the chaotic federal response to the storm on the U.S. island territory, triggered a year-long controversy, which Trump revived this week even as another powerful hurricane, Florence, bore down on the East Coast.

Numerous deaths in the aftermath of Maria were attributed to power failures and limited access to healthcare and clean drinking water.

Trump continued calling it an "unsung success" hampered by San Juan Mayor Carmon Yulin Cruz, and the whole "island" thing.

But the agency has said it has provided a variety of housing options for people left homeless by Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico head-on almost a year ago.

In August, George Washington University released a study estimating that 2,975 people died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria.

The deaths fell in two categories: direct and indirect.

The GWU study concluded the initial death toll only included those killed directly by hurricanes Maria and Irma - either by drowning, flying debris or building collapse. Kidney patients got abbreviated treatments from dialysis centers that lacked generator fuel and fresh water, despite pleas for federal and local officials to treat them as a higher priority, according to patient advocates.

Trump's latest grumbling on the Maria death toll comes as Tropical Storm Florence inundates the Carolinas, killing at least four people.

A study commissioned by the Puerto Rican government said the number was nearly 3,000 people, something Trump shot down on Twitter. A separate study conducted by Harvard University researchers produced an estimate of more than 4,000, though there was a significant variation on the actual death total.

Political officials from both sides of the aisle condemned the president's statements and said they believed the death toll.

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