900-plus cremations since Maria, but hurricane death toll still 51

ByABC News
October 28, 2017, 9:42 PM

— -- There have been more than 900 cremations in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria made landfall on September 20, but the official death toll from the devastating storm is still listed as 51.

The number of cremations has increased scrutiny over the Department of Public Safety's count of deaths related to Hurricane Maria.

In a statement provided to ABC News, the Department of Public Safety says that 911 authorized cremations have been carried out between September 20 and October 18.

The cremations were all carried out after an analysis of several documents including "the death summary, the death certificate, the ballot, the medical summary or a document that certifies and evidence the death cause, and the form that the family completes for requesting a cremation," according to the statement.

All the deaths have been designated as due to natural causes.

The Department of Public Safety previously said that any increase in the number of deaths listed as related to Hurricane Maria would happen only if a body was sent to San Juan to be examined by a medical examiner or if a medical examiner went to a town to review a body.

Hector Pesquera, the secretary for the Department of Public Safety continues to say that the number of deaths related to Hurricane Maria remains at 51.

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