The International Federation of the Red Cross estimates that up to 3 million people have been affected by the powerful earthquake that hit Haiti yesterday, The AP reported. The magnitude 7.0 quake caused "massive destruction in all the main neighborhoods" of Port-au-Prince, damaging or destroying thousands of structures, including homes, hospitals, businesses and schools. The ornate National Palace, the U.N. headquarters and the control tower at the airport were also damaged.
Serious loss of life feared: Although information coming out of the Caribbean nation is limited, due to the fact that power and telephone lines were downed in the quake, some news has reached the outside world via cell phones and Twitter accounts. At the time of this writing, officials have released no casualty estimates, but thousands of people are feared dead.
Background: Haiti is the poorest nation in the western hemisphere. On a good day, the country's leaders have a difficult time providing basic needs to its citizens. Political instability has left the country with few construction standards, and so buildings are simply not made to withstand such a natural disaster....
Picture Left:A worker for Action Medeor relief organization packs parcels in emergency health kits in Toenisvorst, western Germany, on Wednesday Jan. 13, 2010, to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The sign reads : 'Haiti Emergency'.
(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)