Stunned and battered Haitians are waiting for help among the dead and injured in the hours after Tuesday’s powerful earthquake.
Conservative estimates point to between 30,000 and 50,000 deaths.
With the capital Port-au Prince in ruins, survivors are struggling to help themselves. The one agency they could have turned to – the UN – is itself reeling.
Its mission and surrounding buildings were flattened in the tremor. At least 16 of its staff are confirmed dead, their chief thought to be among them. More bodies are likely to be found.
Alain Le Roy of the UN in New York set out the priorities: “The two major needs for Haiti and for Port-au-Prince are search and rescue teams with heavy equipment – and of course with expertise – and medical teams. Those are the two urgent needs for the time being.”
With electricity and water supplies cut and no medical facilities, Haiti is relying on outside aid.
It is estimated that up to three million people were living in areas affected by the size seven quake and its numerous aftershocks. Most of them in precariously built slums.