Last official quake toll is 72,000: Haiti PM

January 20th, 2010 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 20 (IANS) The last official toll in the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti last week was “72,000 collected bodies”, Haiti Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told CNN Wednesday, adding that “now the main concern of the government is to find shelters in order to bring water, food and toilets” for all the quake-affected people.
Talking on CNN’s “Amanpour”, Bellerive said that after the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Jan 12, “the first objective was to re-establish communication not only with our partners, but inside the government. That is done right now. And the next objective is to — is continue to — to bring food to all the people and to re-establish — establish shelter for everybody”.

“The last number that I receive at my office is 72,000 collected by the Haitian services. That doesn’t count that one that are collected by MINUSTAH (UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti). That doesn’t count the one that the people directly buried — a lot of people buried their families and all that. But the last official count is 72,000 collected bodies,” Bellerive told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

To a query on whether there was a government that can actually operate now, Bellerive said: “Yes, we have a government right now… it was very difficult at that time, because we had no communication, and we had to do it personally, and he (Haiti’s President Rene Preval) send motorcycle to look for us, and we reached the president during the night by motorcycle.”

On the current situation in Haiti, he said: “When the situation happened, there was no — no communication. All the road were blocked. There is no electricity. There is no telephonic — no communication. Now we can circulate on the road. The telephonic communication are re-established. And the MINUSTAH also have a new leadership, and we are working together to help better the population.”

He went on to say that “now the main concern of the government is to find shelters, find places to build shelters, in order to bring water, food and toilets for all those people. You know, that’s for them to live until we can reconstruct.”

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