US Report Questions Haiti Death Toll
True count may be 250K less than Haitian estimate
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2011 1:20 AM CDT
A man missing a leg moves through the remains of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince early this year on the first anniversary of the quake.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – The number of people killed or made homeless by the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti last year is well below the Haitian government's figures, according to a report commissioned by the US government. The researchers estimate that between 46,000 and 85,000 people were killed in the quake, according to a copy of the unreleased report obtained by AP. The Haitian government says 316,000 people died in the quake, but it has not explained how it arrived at the official figure.

The report, commissioned by USAID to help it get an accurate picture of how much rubble remains to be cleared and housing to be rebuilt, estimates that 375,000 people are still in temporary resettlement camps in the capital. The UN estimates there are 680,000. The report's lead author says nobody should be surprised by the revised figures, given the lack of justification for the official ones. "Personally, for me, in terms of the tragedy, less is better," he says. "And at about 60,000 dead, that's still a huge tragedy."