At 16.53 on Tuesday, the worst earthquake in two centuries hit south of Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. Registering at 7.0, the disaster is being described as "a catastrophe of major proportions". Damaged communications make it difficult to estimate the extent of the damage; the International Federation of Red Cross estimates up to 3 million people have been affected.
Tens of thousands have lost their homes, and many are feared dead. Survivors have been coping with a series of aftershocks.
As the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is believed to be ill-equipped to deal with such a disaster. 85% of people already live in poverty and the nation has suffered a number of recent disasters, including four hurricanes and storms in 2008 that killed hundreds.
Please give what you can to help relieve the suffering of those affected.
Created 13 Jan 2010