Saturday 10 December 2016

Cock-up or conspiracy? Rift opens over real cost of Haiti earthquake

Guy Adams

Published 01/06/2011 | 05:00

Hundreds of bodies were piled on the streets in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake last year
Hundreds of bodies were piled on the streets in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after the earthquake last year

It was called the worst disaster in modern history. A UN spokesman described "historic" devastation "like no other" ever faced by the organisation.

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News reports heralded scenes of Biblical devastation, complete with piles of corpses in the streets and lorry-loads of bodies being dumped in graves on the outskirts of town.

But how many people really did lose their lives when an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter Scale struck Haiti on January 12, 2010? Was the death toll in the tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands? And did a mixture of cock-up and conspiracy result in the scale of destruction being dramatically overstated?

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