Trump rejects Puerto Rico hurricane death toll

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On Tuesday, President Donald Trump boasted about his administration's response to Maria: "Puerto Rico was incredibly successful", Trump said, pointing to some of the problems the island had before the hurricane.

Media captionMonths after Maria, many on this United States island still suffered in the dark What have Puerto Rican officials said? While FEMA is blaming the Puerto Rico government for dropping the ball, a Puerto Rican official claimed that distributing the water to Maria's victims was FEMA's responsibility. The historical relationship between Puerto Rico and Washington is unfair and unAmerican.

Trump's tweets - which came as a highly unsafe Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas - brought an immediate rebuke from Democrats in Congress.

The tweets drew the ire of Carmen Yulin Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, who has sharply criticized both the president and his administration's response to the storm a year ago that devastated the USA territory. "If you're in Florence's path and considering riding it out, your president just said that a hurricane response where 3,000 die is his measure of success".

The president raised eyebrows Tuesday when he touted the response efforts in a meeting to go over preparations for the potentially devastating Hurricane Florence inching toward the Carolinas. In a further statement, Wednesday, Trump said his administration did an "unappreciated great job" in supporting Puerto Rico despite the inaccessibility of the island, poor electricity and an "incompetent mayor". It was in very bad shape, it was in bankruptcy. It was in bankruptcy. "Had no money, was largely closed".

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A team of researchers at Harvard University announced in May that they believed Hurricane Maria's death toll was 4,600.

According to Fox News Senior Meteorologist Janice Dean, Florence could stall upon reaching the Carolina coast later this week and make a slight shift south toward SC once it makes landfall, becoming "a major flooding event".

Millions have been ordered to evacuate their homes as the storm rages closer to the mainland.

Storm surges up to 13ft are expected, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. And the the federal government's relief effort was riddled with demonstrable failures: Despite receiving advance warning of the hurricane's likely landfall in Puerto Rico, the administration neglected to deploy satellite phones, generators, and reserves of food, fuel, and water in advance of the storm.

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