The latest estimate for the death toll in Haiti indicates that it could go as high as 200,000. Interior Minister Paul Antoine Bien-Aime told Reuters on Friday, “We have already collected around 50,000 dead bodies; we anticipate there will be between 100,000 and 200,000 dead in total although we will never know the exact number.”
Rescuers have continued to rescue people trapped under collapsed buildings, including a toddler and a nineteen-year-old girl whose father and boyfriend had been digging frantically for her but whom medics first took for dead when her seemingly lifeless body was finally unearthed.
The chances of survival for anyone who has been trapped since Tuesday are growing slim, however, and attention is turning to the threats of disease, violence, and starvation.
AFT reports, “Machete-wielding looters brought more terror to Haiti streets Friday as US troops poured into the quake-ravaged nation to start streaming tons of aid to traumatized and destitute people.”
Although aid is starting to arrive, it is not yet reaching the people who need it most desperately. Regular food stores are empty and there are increasing reports of looting.
Disaster relief expert Chris Weeks, who has worked in the aftermath of hurricanes and tsunamis, told The New York Times, ““I’ve got the feeling that this one is going to turn out worse than all of them because the airport itself is part of the victim in all of this.”
Officials are also starting to offer estimates of damage to property. Health Minister Alex Larsen told Reuters, “Three-quarters of Port-au-Prince will have to be reconstructed, not just the areas totally destroyed, but also the places where so many houses have structural damage.” Reports are coming in of heavy damage to other cities, as well.