Sunday, October 29, 2017

900 bodies cremated in Puerto Rico, is that an excessive number of deaths? Maybe not - Mary Cummins

puerto rico, dead, died, hurricane Maria, flooding, death, cremated, cremation, mary cummins, real estate, los angeles, california, donald trump

UPDATE: September 2018. People have been crunching the numbers to see how many deaths by "natural causes" were actually caused by the hurricanes. "Puerto Rico's governor formally raised the number of deaths from Hurricane Maria to an estimated 2,975 from 64 following a study conducted by researchers at The George Washington University." While the deaths were listed as "natural causes" the deaths were directly, indirectly caused by the hurricanes. I wrote the original article October 2017 before we had a full count of the dead. I used average deaths per year to try to figure out if there were more deaths during and after the hurricane.  It was only 42 days after the hurricane.

ORIGINAL: Multiple media outlets have reported that 51 people died as a result of hurricane Maria. They also stated that over 900 bodies have been cremated since hurricane Maria. People want to know if these were caused by hurricane Maria or were natural causes. The death certificates list their deaths as "natural causes."

Time to do some math about the normal death rate in Puerto Rico. The death rate in Puerto Rico per 1,000 people per year is 8.8.  It's higher than the main land as people in Puerto Rico are older and less wealthy. This is 8.8/1,000/yr or .08 pop of 3,411,000 or 747/day 42 days since Maria hit for total of 31,374 normal deaths. Perhaps the requests for cremation are higher as people don't have money for cremation or funerals because of the hurricane.

"More than a month ago, Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico leaving the island with extensive damage. In addition to the physical destruction seen throughout the U.S. territory, 51 people lost their lives as a result of the storm, according to the official death toll from Puerto Rico’s Department of Public Safety. But, the actual number of deaths may be much higher.

Since September 20—when the Category 4 storm made landfall on Puerto Rico—911 bodies were cremated on the island, BuzzFeed reports. But, none of those deaths were caused by the hurricane, Karixia Ortiz Serrano, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Safety, told BuzzFeed. Rather, they were all deemed “natural deaths.”

After hearing of the report, David Begnaud, a CBS News Correspondent who has extensively been covering issues related to the storm, reached out to public safety officials who were able to confirm the number of cremations and explain the process.

“By law, the Bureau of Forensic Science must authorize all the cremation requests of the family members of the deceased. During the process, several documents are analyzed: the death summary, the death certificate, the ballot, the medical summary or document that certifies or gives evidence of the cause of death, and the form that the family completes for requesting a cremation. This form also establishes if the family member agrees or doesn’t agree with the circumstance of the death. In that sense, the 911 authorizations of cremations during the previously established period are of natural deaths at the time of specific evaluation and there was no suspicion that would stop the requested process,” according to the statement obtained by Begnaud.

In a video posted to Twitter on Saturday morning, Begnaud explains that he plans to investigate how the 911 deaths compare to previous time frames. It may not be an unusually high number, according to an analysis reported by The Washington Post. But, it still doesn’t explain whether the deaths were hurricane-related or not.

“The reality is we probably will never know,” Joe Trainor of the University of Delaware’s Disaster Recovery Center, told The Washington Post."

Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, real estate, appraiser, appraisal, instructor, teacher, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Pasadena, Brentwood, Bel Air, California, licensed, permitted, single family, condo, pud, hud, fannie mae, freddie mac, uspap, certified, residential, certified resident, apartment building, multi-family, commercial, industrial, expert witness, civil, criminal, orea, dre, insurance, bonded, experienced, bilingual, spanish, english, form, 1004, 2055, land, raw, acreage, vacant, insurance, cost, income approach, market analysis, comparative, theory, appraisal theory, cost approach, sales, matched pairs, plot, plat, map, diagram, photo, photographs, photography, rear, front, street, subject, comparable, sold, listed, active, pending, expired, cancelled, listing, mls, multiple listing service, claw, themls,

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