Harder than it looks

Chile is good at a lot of things, but it turns out tallying up death tolls is not one of them.

First we were told it was over 800. Then the government revised it down to 279 because a municipal government had counted a bunch of missing people as dead. Then the death toll went back up to 700 when many of those missing were added to the list of the dead. Then it went back down to 452 from 497 (wait, what?) with 96 people still missing. And now Diario del Sur is reporting that the official official list of the dead – with ID numbers and death certificates – is 342, revised down from 359 after it was discovered that 17 names on the list (PDF) were duplicates.

The official number is sure to go up again as more missing people are added to the list of the dead, but maybe they could just stop releasing numbers until they get the whole thing sorted.

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