Haiti quake toll tops 200,000

February 4th, 2010 - 2:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Port-au-Prince, Feb 4 (DPA) The number of people killed in last month’s earthquake in Haiti has topped 200,000, Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive said as protests erupted over the slow distribution of aid to survivors.
The government had previously said the magnitude-7, Jan 12 quake had killed up to 200,000 people. Bellerive said Wednesday that number had been surpassed and the new toll did not include bodies that remained trapped in the rubble or those removed by families for burial.

According to the government, one million people were left homeless and more than 300,000 people were injured in the quake, which destroyed large parts of Port-au-Prince and areas west of the capital.

Experts have said, however, that the actual number of dead and wounded could never be determined.

Meanwhile, about 300 protestors gathered outside the city hall of Petionville, a section of Port-au-Prince, for more aid and to criticise the government for the trickle of relief goods and help getting to survivors.

They accused the mayor of selling food vouchers from international aid agencies instead of giving them away.

The aid flow has been hampered by the extent of the quake damage and the lack of infrastructure in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country.

To streamline the flow of relief to victims, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed former US president Bill Clinton Wednesday to take over coordination of all international aid and reconstruction efforts.

Ban said the construction of emergency shelters was a priority more than three weeks after the quake because the rainy season was about to set in.

According to UN figures, 10,000 family-sized tents have been distributed, 15,000 are in Haiti awaiting distribution and another 40,000 are on their way to the Caribbean nation.

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