Estimated death tolls during disaster are always somewhat suspect (Hurricane Katrina comes to mind), but some of the estimates coming out of Haiti are staggering, indeed.
They also vary widely. Jean-Max Bellerive, Haiti’s prime minister, says the death toll is likely over 100,000.
Haiti’s president, Rene Preval, says “hundreds” are dead. Youri Latortue, described as a “leading senator” by the Associated Press, says 500,000 might be dead. All admit they have no firm knowledge of a death toll.
Haiti has a population of about 9 million, so all three estimates represent a staggering toll. Based on a similar population scale of the United States, the numbers given so far would equate to 3,000 to 15 million deaths here.
The AP has just posted some raw video of the situation in Haiti. Be aware that some of it is graphic:
The earthquake measured a 7.0. The last time a quake that big hit the United States was 1999. The “Hector Mine earthquake,” registering a 7.1, occurred in a remote part of the Mojave Desert. The only damage was a derailed train. There were minor injuries.
A similar-sized earthquake struck in 1992. Two people died from heart attacks.