If you know a hurricane victim who isn’t listed here, or have additional information on someone who is let us know.
Over the last year, reporters from Quartz and Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism (CPI) collected hundreds of stories from Puerto Ricans who say their relatives died because of Hurricane Maria but were overlooked by the government. With the Associated Press, names of the dead were matched against government death records released by the Puerto Rican government in response to a lawsuit by CPI. Together, we interviewed about 300 families of the dead and reviewed the records of nearly 200 others using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria for certifying disaster-related deaths.
Most of the deaths in the project’s database are considered indirect, meaning they were not caused by winds or flooding but rather made more likely because of factors like the lack of power, fresh water and medical supplies after the storm. The project did not interview the patients’ doctors and the death certificates themselves make no link to Maria. The Puerto Rican government acknowledges that hundreds or thousands of deaths should have been classified as storm-related but weren’t, due to doctors’ lack of training on how to correctly fill out death certificates. Participation in this survey was voluntary; therefore, the sample is not representative of Puerto Rico’s demography and was not used to extrapolate trends in causes of death and demographics.
The project analyzed mortality databases from the Demographic Registry of Puerto Rico from 2014 to 2017 to calculate changes in demographics and cause of death rates across the whole population, using ICD-10 standard grouping for 50 cause-of-death rankings.
More than 30 journalists from the AP, Quartz, and CPI participated in the project.
The site was designed and built by Quartz reporter Youyou Zhou.
CPI: Omaya Sosa Pascual, Carla Minet, Laura Candelas, Jeniffer Wiscovitch, Laura Moscoso, Víctor Rodríguez, David Cordero. With help from Luis Trelles, Cindy Burgos, Mari Mari Narvaez, Edmy Ayala and Emmanuel Estrada.
Quartz: Ana Campoy, Youyou Zhou, Caitlin Hu, David Yanofsky. With help from Daniel Wolfe, Nikhil Sonnad, Feli Sanchez, Max de Haldevang and Amanda Shendruk.
AP: Michael Weissenstein, Ezequiel Abiu Lopez, Luis Alonso, Claudia Torrens, Ben Fox, Danica Coto, Maricarmen Rivera, Gisela Salomón, Larry Fenn, Troy Thibodeaux. With help from Mark Thiessen, Rachel D'oro, Dan Joling.
Consulting by demographer Raúl Figueroa and public health experts Luis Emmanuel Rodríguez Reyes and Luis Alberto Aviles of the University of Puerto Rico.
Volunteer students from the Carlos Albizu University in San Juan, Interamerican University and University of Puerto Rico helped with data extraction and conducted many of the verification calls to victims’ relatives: Iliana Sepúlveda Montes, Iris de Oleo, Irmary Rodríguez Rivera, Kathyria Vega, Magda Rolón Velez, Neysha Burgos, Yomara Belardo, César Medina, Zahaira Cruz Aponte, Anayra Santiago, Steven Jiang, Eileen Santaella.
The art in the site is by Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell. The icons for mechanism of deaths are by AP multimedia producer Peter Hamlin.