The Stream, May 31: Puerto Rico’s Hurricane Maria Death Toll is 70 Times Higher than Official Figures, Researchers Say

The Global Rundown

Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine determines the Puerto Rico death toll from Hurricane Maria is likely 70 times higher than official figures. Monsoon rains arrive early in South Asia. China calls on local governments to evaluate environmental damages from small-scale hydropower plants on the Yangtze River. Flooding from subtropical storm Alberto kills four people in Cuba. Water temperatures in the Great Lakes spike dramatically amid record warmth.

“Our results indicate that the official death count of 64 is a substantial underestimate of the true burden of mortality after Hurricane Maria.” –The conclusion of a recent study published in the  New England Journal of Medicine. After a survey of 3,299 households, researchers estimate that the storm-related death toll is closer to 4,600. The survey results suggest that 1 in 10 deaths was caused directly by the storm, while the remaining deaths were caused by after-effects such as poor access to medical care. Los Angeles Times

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By The Numbers

310mm (12.2 inches) Amount of rain that deluged parts of Karnataka, India, on Tuesday. South Asia’s summer monsoon season is now underway, arriving at least four days earlier than anticipated. Total rainfall during the season is expected to be normal, but forecasters warn that rains will likely be erratic and intense. Al Jazeera

4 Number of Cubans citizens killed by flooding in the wake of subtropical storm Alberto. The storm forced widespread evacuations and damaged roads and other infrastructure on the island. The deadly storm brought heavy rains and flooding to the United States as well. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Temperatures in the Great Lakes skyrocketed after a weekend of record-high regional temperatures. Between May 22 and May 28, each of the five lakes warmed substantially. Lake Erie witnessed the most dramatic change, with average surface temperatures rising 16 degrees. MLive

On The Radar

China has instructed local authorities to survey environmental damages and other impacts of the “uncontrolled” small-scale hydropower development that has boomed along the Yangtze River in recent years. The Chinese government warned that it may shut down some of the plants, including those that encroach on protected nature zones or violate approval rules. Reuters

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