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Haitian Officials Lie About Death Toll In Devastating Earthquake

The earthquake that changed Haiti for years to come was a terrible tragedy and is not forgotten, yet now a report shows that the death toll claimed by Haitian Officials was greatly exaggerated.

Haiti Wrestles With Basic Needs As Recovery From Deadly Earthquake Begins
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

Many people questioned the Haitian government’s death toll in the days after the quake. The officials released precise figures even as thousands of bodies were scooped up and dumped in mass graves in what seemed a haphazard fashion. Many more were left to decay in collapsed buildings. The government never publicly revealed its methodology for arriving at its statistics.
USAID commissioned the report through a Washington consulting firm, LTL Strategies, to get a more accurate picture of the amount of rubble to be cleared and housing that needed to be built or repaired.

The report’s lead author, Timothy T. Schwartz, is an anthropologist whose previous work includes a book highly critical of the efforts of major international aid groups in Haiti. He declined comment Monday on the USAID report but said in a blog post that no one should be surprised about a revised death toll given the previous conflicting numbers and lack of justification for the official figures.

The official report received by United States shows that between 45,000 and 85,000 people perished in this disaster. While this is a massive amount of people to have died in this earthquake, it is no-where near the 316,000 people reported by the Haitian Officials.

This has lead to a challenge to the Multi-Billion dollar aid and reconstruction effort that has been campaigned by the United States.


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