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Haiti raises earthquake death toll to 230,000

The new figure gives the quake the same death toll as the 2004 Asian tsunami.
Image: People react during a memorial service in Haiti
People react during a memorial service at the site where Haiti's earthquake victims were dumped in a mass grave, in Titanyen, outside Port-au-Prince, on Monday.Rodrigo Abd / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

Haiti's government on Tuesday raised the death toll for the Jan. 12 earthquake to 230,000 from 212,000 and said more bodies remain uncounted.

The government estimated 150,000 dead on Jan. 24, apparently from bodies being recovered in the rubble of collapsed buildings in Port-au-Prince, the capital that was near the epicenter.

Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue said Tuesday the government now counts 230,000 deaths.

But she said the new figure is not definitive. It does not include bodies buried by private funeral homes in private cemeteries or the dead buried by their own families.

The new figure gives the quake the same death toll as the 2004 Asian tsunami.

Among the casualties is a U.S. airman whose body was found and identified over the weekend.

U.S. Air Force Major Kenneth Bourland's remains were found at the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince on Saturday after more than three weeks of searching.

Bourland, 37, of Birmingham, Ala., had just arrived in Haiti when the earthquake struck last month. He was there to accompany Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, deputy commander of SOUTHCOM, during his visit.

Bourland leaves behind a wife, Peggy, and three sons.

Bourland was one of five U.S. military members in the Hotel Montana when the earthquake struck; the other four survived.

Miracle man?
Meanwhile, doctors Tuesday were treating an emaciated Haitian who said he survived nearly four weeks trapped under the rubble of a collapsed market.

Image: Evans Monsigrace
In this photo provided by, a man who identified himself as Evans Monsigrace, 28, sits at the Salvation Army medical center in Port-au-Prince, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. University of Miami doctors working in Haiti are treating Monsigrace, who, according to two Haitian men who brought him, had been trapped in rubble since the Jan. 12 earthquake, and he may have been provided food and water. The men's account could not be confirmed by doctors at a university field hospital or at a Salvation Army medical center where Monsigrace, emaciated and suffering from dehydration, was first brought. (AP Photo/Michael Andrew, Andrew /

The man, identified as Evans Monsigrace, told doctors at a University of Miami field hospital in Port-au-Prince that he had been buried by the Jan. 12 quake while cooking rice, AFP news agency reported.

He was brought into the field hospital on Monday. According to the man's mother, he was discovered by people clearing debris who then alerted Monsigrace's brothers.

Doctors said he had no major injuries other than severe dehydration and could be released  later in the week.

Two other Haitians said the man had been trapped by debris since the Jan. 12 earthquake — but he may have been provided food and water during his reported ordeal.

The two Haitians' account could not be confirmed by doctors at the field hospital or at a Salvation Army medical center in Port-au-Prince where the man was first brought by the two men on Monday.

Nery Ynclan, a University of Miami media officer in Haiti, said the patient was in stable condition Tuesday and being treated for dehydration and malnutrition. She said the man identified himself as 28-year-old Evans Monsigrace, adding that his family told doctors varying accounts of his ordeal.

Detained Americans
Also Tuesday, parents of some of the children who 10 U.S. missionaries tried to take out of Haiti after its catastrophic earthquake told a judge that they freely handed over their kids, the Americans' lawyer said.

The parents' testimony means no law was broken and "we can't talk any more about trafficking of human beings," attorney Aviol Fleurant told reporters.

He said he was confident the judge will dismiss the case.

Nine of the Americans, most from an Idaho church group, have now been interviewed by the judge, who is to decide whether they will stand trial. The judge did not speak with reporters.

Flaurent said the Americans would be back in court Wednesday. One of them, Jim Allen of Amarillo, Texas, was represented by a separate lawyer Tuesday.

The Americans were charged with kidnapping and criminal association last week for trying to take 33 children into the neighboring Dominican Republic on Jan. 29 without proper documentation.

The Baptist missionaries say they were heading to a Dominican orphanage following Haiti's devastating quake, and had only good intentions.

The Americans' original Haitian lawyer was fired late Friday. The Dominican attorney who had hired him claimed the Haitian attempted to bribe the detainees' way out of jail without their knowledge. The Haitian lawyer denied that.