Major Earthquake Strikes Haitian Capital; Thousands Feared Dead (UPDATED X7)

The BBC reports:

Haitian President Rene Preval has said thousands of people are feared dead following a huge quake which has devastated the country’s capital.

UN chief Ban Ki-moon said the head of the UN mission in Haiti and his deputy were among more than 100 staff missing.

The 7.0-magnitude quake, Haiti’s worst in two centuries, struck south of Port-au-Prince, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told US network CNN he believed more than 100,000 people had died.

The Red Cross says up to three million people are affected.

Donate to The Red Cross.

Donate to Doctors Without Borders.

Find other organizations currently providing humanitarian aid in Haiti.

UPDATE: Here are some pictures of the disaster from Daniel Morel via Twitpic:

UPDATE II: Here are more pics, this time from Lisandro Suero via Twitpic:

UPDATE III: Here is President Obama’s response to the disaster:

UPDATE IV: CBS brings us some raw footage of the earthquake’s aftermath:

CNN also has a list of organizations currently doing humanitarian aid in Haiti.

UPDATE V: Here’s a quick and easy way you can help out:

The State Department said those interested in helping immediately may text ‘HAITI’ to ‘90999’ and a donation of $10 will be made automatically to the Red Cross for relief efforts. The donation will be charged to your cellphone bill.

UPDATE VI: The UN Dispatch has more on Haiti’s coming challenges:

Once you’ve survived the earthquake, what happens? Haitians now face a daunting set of health challenges, including typhoid, dengue fever, malaria, and getting treatment for serious injuries.

While health information coming out of Haiti is still very sparse, data from previous earthquakes gives us a clear impression of what to expect in terms of health. The initial impact of an earthquake is catastrophic injuries – broken bones, crush injuries, dust inhalation, and burns predominate.

[…]

Social unrest often comes after earthquakes. People get angry with the government’s inability to respond, and fear and helplessness turns easily to violence. There are reports of looting in Haiti. That’s going to mean more injuries by violence.

After the injuries comes sickness. If stringent controls are not put in place, the combination of displaced people and damaged infrastructure will lead directly to epidemics of diarrheal disease over the next few months. In the case of Haiti, the risk is typhoid. It’s already present in the country, and it could spread rapidly if people are crowded together drinking contaminated water. We could also see spikes in dengue fever and malaria if people are living in temporary shelters with little protection from mosquitoes.

This is where disaster relief efforts make a huge difference. By the time the international teams get in, it’s too late to help the severely injured.

UPDATE VII: CBS brings us more raw footage, this time of a rescue attempt from a toppled building:

[All emphasis mine]

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