UPDATE [Jan 19, 2010]
The Irish Times reports the current estimate is 200,000 deaths
Asked about Haitian government statements that between 150,000 and 200,000 people died, Gen Ken Keen, the commander of US forces in Haiti, said: “I think the international community is looking at those figures, and I think that’s a start point. Clearly, this is a disaster of epic proportions . . .”
The Haitian government says three-quarters of the capital will have to be rebuilt. Seventy thousand Haitians have already been buried, and many thousands more are decomposing in the rubble.
About 1.5 million people are homeless. There is still massively inadequate medical care and risks of disease and deaths from looting and other violence.
Haiti has a population of just under 10 million and Port au Prince the devasted capital has a population of about 3 million.
If the 200,000 figure proves to be accurate that would be 2% of the population of Haiti killed in the earthquake and over 6% of the capital of Port au Prince.
Whole shantytowns had slid off the side of hilltops, and even the mightiest of buildings — including several hospitals, the presidential palace and the United Nations headquarters — had fallen like houses of cards
Officials said they feared it could rise to a staggering 500,000, although they cautioned those figures were highly speculative.
“I don’t know,” Preval told CNN when asked how many were killed.
Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said he thought the total would “be in the range of hundreds of thousands dead.”
The terrifying 7.0-magnitude quake sent millions of residents into the streets.
“We have a lot of people here that need help. They need food. They need water,” said Vanessa Charlamagne, 27, who sat in a park with hundreds of others.
Corpses lined the streets, which were devoid of any signs of rescue work — no wailing sirens or heavy equipment.
As many as 150 members of the 9,000-person strong UN peacekeeping mission were unaccounted for — including the mission’s chief, Hedi Annabi, who was presumed dead
If the UN peacekeeping force was representative of the death ratio then the earthquake had a 1.6%. If the UN peacekeepers were in stronger buildings and ten times safer then the 16% rate of the 500,000 death toll would make sense.
In the shattered Haitian capital bodies could be seen buried under the rubble, lying by the side of streets, or piled into vehicles
Friday, Jan 15, 2010 – The Pan American Health Organization, the Americas arm of the World Health Organization, estimated the deaths from Tuesday’s magnitude 7 quake at between 50,000 and 100,000, up to double the Red Cross’s estimate.
The death toll from Haiti’s earthquake climbed to as high as an estimated 100,000 today as logistical bottlenecks delayed aid and encouraged looting by survivors desperate for food and water.
Groups of men with machetes roved the ruins seeking supplies of food or water; others used corpses as roadblocks, a macabre sign that the capital had reached breaking point after four days of apocalyptic scenes.