Hundreds of protestors gathered outside the United Nations on Saturday to demand that the international organization conduct an audit on the official death toll provided by the Puerto Rican government in December. The protest, led by the Collective Action for Puerto Rico, comes days after a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health which estimates that the death toll in the commonwealth stemming from Hurricane Maria could be as high as 4,645 people, a total that significantly exceeds the initially reported number of 64. The study also found that delays in medical care in the months following the storm was the primary cause of the high mortality rate.
With signs saying "Puerto Rican lives matter" and "If you are not angry you are not paying attention," the protest was meant to raise awareness for the people of Puerto Rico who have been overlooked by the Trump administration. "Sisters and brothers in this country forget that the people of Puerto Rico are our fellow Americans," said Linda Sarsour, one of the lead organizers behind the Women’s March in Washington. "They deserve to be treated just like any American in any part of this country."
The Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health explains that a more accurate death toll from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico helps determine the scope of the recovery effort while giving families the peace of mind they need and qualifying them for the appropriate amount assistance necessary to get their lives back on track.