Haiti raises earthquake toll to 230,000

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

PORT-AU-PRINCE, HAITI -- Haiti's government has raised the death toll for the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Jan. 12 to 230,000, up from 212,000, and says more bodies remain uncounted.

On Jan. 24, the government had estimated 150,000 dead, apparently from bodies recovered from the rubble of buildings in Port-au-Prince, the capital, which was near the epicenter.

Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said Tuesday that the government now pegs the toll at 230,000. She said, however, that the new figure is not definitive. She added that it does not include bodies buried by private funeral homes in private cemeteries or the dead buried by their own families.

The new figure puts the quake toll on a par with the toll from the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

Meanwhile, the second stage of Haiti's medical emergency has begun, with diarrheal illnesses, acute respiratory infections and malnutrition beginning to claim lives by the dozen.

"It's still tough," said Chris Lewis, emergency health coordinator for Save the Children, which by Tuesday had treated 11,000 people at 14 mobile clinics in Port-au-Prince, Jacmel and Leogane. "At the moment, we're providing lifesaving services. What we'd like to do is to move to provide quality, longer-term care, but we're not there, yet."

-- Associated Press

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