Untold devastation as earthquake in Haiti levels Port-au-Prince

A 7.0  magnitude earthquake shook Haiti yesterday afternoon, just after 5 pm local time. The epicenter of the quake was just 15 kilometers southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince. Many buildings collapsed and basic services including power and water were knocked out. Thousands are feared injured or dead. International aid organizations have sprung into action, BBC News.

Many buildings in Port-au-Prince were damaged or leveled, including the Presidential palace and the United Nations headquarters. Unconfirmed reports say as many as 200 people may have died in the UN building collapse and that no one who was in the building at the time of the collapse survived.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement this morning, praising the immediate assistance provided by the international community. Ban confirmed that the head of the UN mission in Haiti is missing. Ban announced that $10 million from the Central Emergency Relief Fund has been immediately released to aid in the relief effort.

Haiti is one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere. Facts about Haiti, CNN. Haiti Factbox, Reuters.

More than 40 aftershocks, including some above magnitude 5, have followed the initial quake, Times Online.

Moving entries from the blog of Port-au-Prince resident Troy Livesay, The Livesay Weblog.

Medical facilities used by the international aid organization Doctors Without Borders were heavily damaged in the earthquake, DWB field report.

A list of legitimate services you can use to help the earthquake victims, ABC.

In a blog post on the U.S. State Department Web site, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills called for those hoping to help to donate $10 by texting “HAITI” to “90999.” The $10 donation will be given automatically to the Red Cross “to help with relief efforts” and will be charged directly to your cell phone bill, the Web site said.

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