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Speech

Jamaica, as, indeed, people throughout the world, were horrified by the terrible tragedy that befell the people of Haiti following the massive earthquake last Tuesday.
Television coverage of the aftermath, the collapsed buildings, the dead bodies lying amidst the rubble, the frantic efforts to reach those still trapped beneath tons of concrete, the agony on the faces of the thousands who have lost loved ones, who writhe in pain from their injuries, not knowing when they will be attended to, whose houses have been destroyed and who have gone for days without food and water, tell the grim tale of the extent of the suffering of a people who have experienced so much human tragedy in their lives but never anything of this magnitude.
The authorities have been forced to bury the dead in hurriedly-dug mass graves without identification or even photographs. Many Haitians will never be able to bring closure to their grief; they will never know with certainty what happened to their mothers and fathers, their sons and daughters, brothers and sisters.
Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told me last Thursday that so far they had been forced to bury 7,000 people in this unceremonious way. It is reported that by Sunday, that number had risen to 70,000! The final death toll, still unknown, is likely to be considerably more than that.
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