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H.R. 6048 (115th): COUNT Victims Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 7, 2018 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.

Summary of this bill

When a hurricane hits, who should determine the official death count: the government or independent researchers? And how much after the hurricane hits should deaths still be counted towards the death count?


After the category 5 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico in September 2017, the death count was originally listed as 64.

Yet a George Washington University study from September 2018, from researchers at the school’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, estimated the actual death count as 2,975. The significantly higher number was determined in part by including deaths determined to be indirectly caused by the hurricane but occurring up to five months later.

The Puerto ...



2d Session

H. R. 6048


June 7, 2018

introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure


To require a study and report on matters concerning best practices in mortality counts as a result of a major disaster.


Short title

This Act may be cited as the Counting Our Unexpected Natural Tragedies’ Victims Act of 2018 or the COUNT Victims Act.


Study and report


In general

Not later than September 30, 2018, the Administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency shall enter into a contract with the National Academy of Medicine to conduct a study and prepare a report as described in subsection (b).


Study and report




In general

The study described in this subsection shall be a study of matters concerning best practices in mortality counts as a result of a major disaster (as defined in section 102 of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 5122)).



The study described in this subsection shall address approaches to quantifying mortality and significant morbidity among populations affected by major disasters, to include best practices and policy rec­om­men­da­tions for—


equitable and timely attribution, in order to, among other things, facilitate access to available benefits;


timely prospective tracking of population levels of mortality and significant morbidity, and their causes, in order to continuously inform response efforts; and


retrospective study of disaster-related mortality and significant morbidity to inform after-action analysis and improve subsequent preparedness efforts.



Not later than 2 years after the date on which the contract described in subsection (a) is entered into, the National Academy of Medicine shall complete and transmit to the Administrator of Federal Emergency Management Agency a report on the study described in paragraph (1).


Authorization of appropriations

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section $2,000,000 for fiscal years 2018 through 2020.