Shoe memorial forms at Puerto Rico's Capitol; Maria's death toll - Tucson News Now

Shoe memorial forms at Puerto Rico's Capitol; Maria's death toll spikes again

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (CNN) - Mourners are leaving their shoes at the Puerto Rican capitol building.

Each pair honors the thousands of people believed to have lost their lives as a result of Hurricane Maria.

The island's department of health released a new report revealing more deaths than initially believed.

That data shows at least 1,400 additional deaths in the months after Maria hit. That's compared to the same time the year before.

The agency did not directly or indirectly link the data to the hurricane.

Puerto Rico's official death toll sits at 64, but the island's residents have been critical of that estimate.

"I've been saying the numbers are going to be higher and that we needed to revisit and study this scientifically," Governor Ricardo Rossello said.

The new numbers come days after a Harvard study revealed more than 4,600 people died as a result of Maria and its aftermath.

The hurricane left a massive path of destruction across the US territory, damaging roads and washing out bridges.

Eight months after Maria, more than 10,000 customers are still in the dark, forcing people to take matters into their own hands.

Many are repairing power lines themselves saying the government abandoned them.

"I feel bad. I can't get no power, can't get no light," Samuel Vazquez said.

And as hurricane season gets underway, the big question is, can Puerto Rico's power grid withstand another massive storm?

"My straight answer to that is: We're readier this year than we were last year," PREPA CEO Walt Higgins said.

Copyright 2018 CNN. All rights reserved.

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