Final death toll of storm Florence may not be known for MONTHS because of indirect fatalities after it has passed

Monday, September 17, 2018
By Paul Martin

Hurricane florence struck US on Thursday and has left 17 confirmed fatalities
But the final death toll will not be know until many weeks after it has passed
It took six months for Hurricane Irma death toll and Katrina toll is still debated

17 September 2018

The final death toll of storm Florence may not be known for many weeks because of indirect deaths long after it has passed.

The hurricane, which struck the south east on Thursday before being downgraded to a tropical storm, has so far left 17 confirmed fatalities.

But it’s common for death tolls in natural disasters to increase weeks and months later because of deaths indirectly caused by the storm.

Indirect deaths can be caused by infections from contaminated water, electrocutions from downed power lines and failure to receive dialysis because of power outages.

For example, more than six months after Hurricane Irma’s catastrophic rampage across the Caribbean and the southeastern US, the number of deaths attributed to the storm increased to 129 – more than twice the amount reported at the end of the storm.

Similarly, it took years for officials to come up with a death toll for Hurricane Katrina which struck in 2005.

That number is still debated today with figures used by disaster agencies varying from around 1,800 by as much as 600 deaths.

The change in the number of dead from Hurricane Maria in 2017 is perhaps the most dramatic.

The toll rose from 64 to a 2,975 after the Puerto Rican governor commissioned university researchers to review the count.

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