Haiti death toll up to 230,000

Could go up even more

Haiti’s government says around
230,000 people died in last month’s earthquake, 18,000 more than its previous
estimate.

The toll from the 12 January quake
is approaching that of the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed 250,000 people.

Communications Minister
Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said the toll was not definitive. About 300,000
were injured.

The latest figure does not include
bodies buried by private funeral homes in private cemeteries, or the dead
buried by their own families.

The one-month anniversary of the
catastrophic quake is to be marked with prayer vigils and fasting.

A BBC correspondent in the capital
Port-au-Prince says there is increasing concern that with the rainy season
approaching, the lack of tents and temporary shelter could lead to the outbreak
of disease.

Supermarket collapse

In the biggest of the camps that
sprung up in the city after the earthquake, people are still living under sheeting
strung across wooden poles.

Aid agency officials said there was
a plan to get thousands of the most vulnerable homeless people into tents ahead
of the rains.

But the challenges of putting large
numbers of tents in the crowded camps are considerable.

Meanwhile, there are reports that a
damaged supermarket collapsed while people were inside.

Rescue teams, which had been
retrieving bodies of quake victims from the site, tried to remove debris to
reach an estimated five to eight people trapped underneath.

It was unclear if they were alive.
They were allegedly looters, AFP news agency reported.

WORLDhaitideathtollSTORY

A makeshift hospital in Haiti.
File