A BBC News headline reported a massive 7.0-magnitude earthquake has struck the Caribbean nation of Haiti. The extent of the devastation is still unclear but there are fears thousands of people may have died.
Haiti's worst quake in two centuries hit south of the capital Port-au-Prince on Tuesday, wrecking the presidential palace, UN HQ and other buildings.
A "large number" of UN personnel were reported missing by the organisation. Many people have spent the night outside amid fears of more aftershocks. Describing the earthquake as a "catastrophe", Haiti's envoy to the US said the cost of the damage could run into billions. A number of nations, including the US, UK and Venezuela, are gearing up to send aid.
The quake, which struck about 15km (10 miles) south-west of Port-au-Prince, was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5 magnitude.
The tremor hit at 1653 (2153 GMT) on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said. Phone lines to the country failed shortly afterwards.There is still no official word on casualties and the extent of the devastation will only become clearer after dawn breaks in the next hour or so.
Source: BBC News
Watch an Australian Aid worker's account of Haiti quake:
Source: Youtube ITN News
- Full name: Republic of Haiti
- Population: 10 million (UN, 2009)
- Capital: Port-au-Prince
- Area: 27,750 sq km (10,714 sq miles)
- Major languages: Creole, French
- Major religion: Christianity
- Life expectancy: 59 years (men), 63 years (women) (UN)
- Monetary unit: 1 gourde = 100 centimes
- Main exports: Light manufactures, coffee, oils, mangoes
- GNI per capita: US $660 (World Bank, 2008)