A recent article in the New York Times offers a much altered story of death and destruction vis-à-vis the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince. Here it is, by the numbers:
The report said as many as 895,000 people moved into camps after the earthquake, not the 1.5 million estimated by the International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization. At most, an estimated 375,000 people remain displaced, with a maximum of 66,620 living in camps…contrary to the migration organization’s tally of more than 600,000 people living in camps.
The amount of rubble that must be cleared…[is approximated by the report ] at 3.7 million cubic meters, not the 20 million to 25 million originally estimated by the Army Corps of Engineers or the 10 million the United Nations reported this year.
…the report’s most incendiary figure: an estimated quake death toll of 46,000 to 85,000 people. The Haitian government announced in January that 316,000 had been killed; in the initial weeks after the quake, it said about 230,000 had died.
How does this make us feel about data collection? What sampling and analysis mechanisms were used? How can they be improved? Perhaps most importantly, how will this effect the rest of the aid (63% of the pledged $4.6bil)? Will countries reduce their commitments? So many questions!