The New York Times
reports that the Government of Haiti has released its first official count of the death toll, 150,000 thus far. This number represents the bodies that have been buried by public relief efforts and excludes those currently waiting to be buried, and those bodies that remain trapped in the rubble. This figure also excludes those who were buried in private funerals by their families. Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue, Haiti’s culture and communications minister has been updating the official figures throughout the day, which jumped by tens of thousands every hour. Some have speculated that these figures are 'guesses,' as the Minister was unable to provide a detailed explanation for the increases.
The dramatic, heart-warming rescues that have been reported in the media are easier to count, but only number about 100. As the rubble is cleared the Minister expects the official count to increase substantially, possibly to double. The release of these figures also illustrate the difficulties that the Haiti government experiences with record keeping, and may be used in the future to improve their ability to accurately collect and report information.