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US General: 200,000 Dead Haitians Just A ’Start Point’

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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:44 PM
Original message
US General: 200,000 Dead Haitians Just A ’Start Point’
Source: Agence France-Presse

Haitians sought comfort in their faith Sunday, flocking to pray in church ruins as rescue teams raced against time to pull out any final survivors five days after a devastating earthquake.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon flew in to assess what he called the "most serious humanitarian disaster in decades," while security degenerated in the capital with police killing a man as they fired on looters ransacking a market.

The leading US general on the ground warned that 200,000 might be a reasonable "start point" for the eventual toll, but said it was still too early to predict a figure that might never be accurately known.

"Clearly, this is a disaster of epic proportions, and we've got a lot of work ahead of us," said Lieutenant-General Ken Keen, who is running the vast US military relief operation in the stricken Caribbean nation.

Haitian officials and the Red Cross have said around 50,000 people perished in the quake, but this figure could be conservative as tens of thousands of rotting bodies have already been buried, many in mass graves.

Read more: http://rawstory.com/2010/01/general-200000-dead-haitian... /
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
1. sad to hear the tsunami is not considered as serious as this quake Mr. Ki-Moon nt
Edited on Sun Jan-17-10 05:56 PM by msongs
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. 2004 tsunami killed 230,000 in several countries
I believe he's implying that the number in Haiti will be bigger than that when all is said and done.

That's quite sad indeed.
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Igel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:22 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. It doesn't have to have a greater death toll.
It's easy to argue that the quake in Haiti is a worse humanitarian disaster.

The tsunami left most of the infrastructure in each affected country fairly unaffected. Even in Aceh you could evacuate the injured inland to hospitals; you could fly aid in to the airports. Even for countries where the roads ran along the coast, there were still access points from inland.

The effects didn't extend far beyond the area that the tsunami actually struck. The political system and economic system of the countries weren't decimated. It wasn't the dominant, governing part of the countries that were affected. Djakarta, Colombo, etc., etc. were untouched. They might not have mounted very effective aid missions on their own, but they could have done something. They needed help in providing help.

Most of the countries involved weren't absolutely destitute, even if the populations immediately affected were.

Haiti. The airport was trashed, the main port was trashed. The hospitals in the largest city were trashed, and the effects extended to a large part of the country. The political system has large holes in it, the economy, already in pretty bad shape, is now in even worse shape. Haiti doesn't need help to mount its own aid mission; it needs others to mount the aid mission.

Even if fewer people died in Haiti, it's still a worse humanitarian disaster because the loss of the ports, hospitals, economy, political infrastructure (well, maybe not that) affect many more than those just in the immediate quake zone and because the country was in far worse shape to recover.
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Robb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:32 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. Good points all. nt
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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. One of the chilling statistics
I've seen is that 100% of Haiti's fire stations were destroyed by the quake - both of them. Yes, that's two fire stations for the entire country.

Other countries are doing what they can, but from what I've read it looks like it's a major effort just to get anything anywhere near the people who need help.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:55 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. Well put
And the deaths in Haiti may continue long after the quake because of disease from lack of sanitation and malnutrition until the region can be stabilised again.

It's going to be a long recovery.
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aquart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. They are now dying of sepsis, infection, untreated wounds.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. I heard a doctor interviewed in Haiti tonight
He was asked how it was going. The doctor said, "Amputations. Amputations all day, every day"

What a nightmare.
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:23 AM
Response to Reply #4
11. You said it better than I could have
Edited on Mon Jan-18-10 12:27 AM by XemaSab
With Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and so forth, the path forward was clear: pick up the debris and rebuild.

In Haiti, it's not even clear how the debris is going to be cleared, or how people can possibly rebuild at all, much less rebuild in a safer manner. :shrug:

I mean, hell... in the Tsunami buildings that were left standing just needed to be cleaned out. Here, most of the buildings that are still standing are unsafe. :o
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Jennicut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
8. Entirely believable. Some have died after they are rescued, which makes it all the more sad.
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tblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 12:14 AM
Response to Reply #2
10. It's not a contest. Both are tragic beyond words,
but in Haiti there seems to be no way to stay a step ahead of the impending doom for many who have survived thus far. The whole thing is just blowing my mind. It's like trying to fathom the size of the universe. Hard to get my head wrapped around it. How do you fix this, fast? Everyone involved in the relief effort is a hero, no matter the flaws and missteps.
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:01 PM
Response to Original message
3. On Thursday I speculated that 500,000 was the likely toll when you consider
immediate deaths plus deaths in subsequent weeks due to untreated injuries and then disease outbreaks and lack of adequate food/water.

I'm no expert, but that was my guess.
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cliffordu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. I figured 350 thou to your figure.....
This is sad beyond words.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 04:01 AM
Response to Original message
12. Not helped
by UK search and rescue teams not being allowed to land THREE times whilst it was ok for Hillary to land to make her token visit.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
13. Terrible headline.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-18-10 11:33 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Yeah, somebody could misinterpret that. nt
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