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'Haiti quake toll could be 300,000'

The death toll in the earthquake that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and areas surrounding Haiti's capital could reach as high as 300,000, Haitian President Rene Preval has said.

world Updated: Feb 22, 2010 14:11 IST

The death toll in the earthquake that destroyed much of Port-au-Prince and areas surrounding Haiti's capital could reach as high as 300,000, Haitian President Rene Preval has said.

Preval was attending a summit of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Sunday in Cancun, Mexico, where he offered the latest and highest estimate of fatalities in the 7-magnitude quake, which struck Jan 12.

He issued a new plea to the international community for immediate relief and long-term help to rebuild Haiti, which was already the poorest country in the western hemisphere before the disaster.

The known death toll is already at least 217,000, but tens of thousands of victims could still be buried in the rubble, Preval said.