Aid pledges grow as major earthquake strikes Haiti

Aid pledges grow as major earthquake strikes Haiti

By staff writers
13 Jan 2010

A major earthquake has hit Haiti, one of the poorest nations on earth. Thousands are feared dead, injured or displaced in and around the capital Port au Prince after the quake, which registered seven on the Richter scale.

So far there have been around 18 aftershocks, 13 registering above five and one at 5.9. The disaster is worse than the 1984 Haiti earthquake, and almost certainly the severest since the early part of the 19th century.

International bodies such as Action of Churches Together and (in Britain) the multi-agency Disaster Emergencies Committee (DEC, are discussing how to get immediate assistance through.

President Obama has already pledged aid and European Union countries are expected to make statements throughout the day.

The United Kingdom and Venezuela have also made early pledges.

In only 50 seconds, Haiti's worst earthquake in two centuries wrecked the HQ of the United Nations mission, the presidential palace and numerous other buildings.

A "large number" of UN personnel have been reported missing by the organisation, says the BBC.

The capital is now reported to be in total darkness with many people sleeping outside amid fear of further aftershocks. Telephone lines are down.

Calling the quake a "catastrophe", Haiti's envoy to the US said the cost of the damage could run into billions of dollars.

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