Haiti Death Toll Could Reach 200,000


haiti3The death toll in the earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince could reach 200,000, the Haitian government said. “We have already collected around 50,000 dead bodies,” Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told Reuters. “We anticipate there will be between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total, although we will never know the exact number.”

The UN mission chief in Haiti, Hedi Annabi of Tunisia, and his deputy, Brazilian Luiz Carlos da Costa, are among the dead, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced.

Ban and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton were heading to see the damage first-hand.

Meanwhile, government workers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti’s capital, began burying thousands of bodies in mass graves as tempers continued to rise among survivors waiting for aid.

The Red Cross estimates between 45,000 and 50,000 dead. The agency based its figures on reports from volunteers across the city, said Jean-Luc Martinage, a spokesman for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

“We consider this as an estimate,” Martinage said.

UN officials in Port-au-Prince confirmed that 19 UN peacekeepers, four international police officers and 13 UN staff members are dead. About 100 UN workers are trapped in the rubble of the UN headquarters that collapsed in the quake, while another 50 UN staff are unaccounted for elsewhere.

Ban estimated 50 percent of the buildings in the capital were damaged or destroyed and said a high proportion of the three million people in the area had no food, water, shelter or electricity.

The desperate situation prompted the Brazilian military to warn aid convoys to add security to guard against looting.

“Unfortunately, they’re slowly getting more angry and impatient,” David Wimhurst, spokesman for the Brazilian-commanded United Nations peacekeeping mission, told The Associated Press. “I fear, we’re all aware that the situation is getting more tense as the poorest people who need so much are waiting for deliveries. I think tempers might be frayed.”

Many Haitians have been without food or clean water since Tuesday, the day of the quake, sparking fears of widespread malnutrition and dehydration.

UN humanitarian spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said peacekeepers were maintaining security in Haiti, despite the challenges.

“It’s tense but they can cope,” Byrs said. “People who have not been eating or drinking for almost 50 hours and are already in a very poor situation, if they see a truck with something … or if they see a supermarket which has collapsed, they just rush to get something to eat.”

Emilia Casella, the UN World Food Program spokeswoman, said officials in Port-au-Prince have recovered most of the supplies from four warehouses in the city after reports that food stocks had been looted.

Casella said the looting reports were overblown. She said staff would soon be handing out about 5,400 tonnes of food, representing about a third of the food aid the UN had stored in Haiti before the quake hit.

{CBC News/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}


  1. …and 13 UN staff members are dead. About 100 UN workers are trapped in the rubble of the UN headquarters that collapsed in the quake, while another 50 UN staff are unaccounted for elsewhere…

    Good riddance!

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