Powerful earthquakes shatter Haiti's capital - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Powerful earthquakes shatter Haiti's capital

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haitians are piling bodies along the devastated streets of their capital after a powerful earthquake flattened the president's palace and the main prison, the cathedral, hospitals, schools and thousands of homes. Untold numbers are still trapped.

President Rene Preval says he believes thousands of people are dead even as other officials give much higher estimates -- though they were based on the extent of the destruction rather than firm counts of the dead.

His prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, tells CNN: "I believe we are well over 100,000," while leading senator Youri Latortue tells The Associated Press that 500,000 could be dead. Both admit they have no way of knowing.

The magnitude-7 quake struck Tuesday afternoon.

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GENEVA (AP) -- The United Nations says the main prison in Haiti's battered capital of Port-au-Prince collapsed in the massive earthquake.

A U.N. humanitarian spokeswoman says the U.N. has received reports of escaped inmates.

Spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs says she had no further details.

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- More than 100 people are missing in the rubble of the collapsed U.N. headquarters building in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince.

And the U.N. says it's not accounted for nearly 40 other staff members in damaged buildings elsewhere.

Among the missing at the headquarters are the head of the U.N. mission and a Chinese delegation with which he was meeting at the time of the magnitude 7.0 quake.

U.N. troops have been working to reach those trapped. So far, the U.N. peacekeeping say they've pulled out "less than 10" people and have confirmed "less than five" deaths.

But Brazil's army says at least four Brazilian soldiers were killed, while Jordan's official news agency says three Jordanian peacekeepers are dead. And a state newspaper in China reports eight Chinese peacekeepers are known dead, though officials say that's not confirmed.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Haiti's president says he believes thousands of people are dead in the aftermath of yesterday afternoon's powerful earthquake.

President Rene Preval says schools and hospitals have collapsed -- along with parliament and the government tax office.

He tells the Miami Herald, "There are a lot of schools that have a lot of dead people in them."

Among the dead is the Roman Catholic archbishop of Port-au-Prince. The head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti is among the missing.

Aftershocks are still rattling the capital, as people pull bodies from collapsed homes, covering them with sheets by the side of the road.

The International Red Cross and other aid groups are announcing plans for major relief efforts. It says a third of Haiti's 9 million people may need emergency aid. The United Nations says Port-au-Prince's main airport is "fully operational" and open to relief flights.

President Barack Obama promised an all-out rescue and humanitarian effort by the United States.

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UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. says more than 100 people are missing in the rubble of the collapsed U.N. headquarters building in Haiti, including the mission chief.

U.N. peacekeeping chief Alain Le Roy said Wednesday about 10 people have been pulled out, many badly injured and "less than five" are confirmed dead.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner told French media his country's ambassador reported that everyone in the U.N. building, including mission chief Hedi Annabi, appeared dead. U.N. officials would say only that Annabi is unaccounted for.

Le Roy told reporters an assessment of Haiti's main airport in Port au Prince found it is "fully operational" and planes will arrive Wednesday with aid.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appealed for aid. He said the United Nations is releasing $10 million from its emergency funds.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- Residents of Haiti are awaiting help in the wake of the strongest earthquake to hit the Caribbean nation in more than two centuries.

The International Federation of Red Cross says up to 3 million people have been affected by yesterday's 7.0-magnitude quake. Tens of thousands have lost their homes, and many have lost their lives.

Destroyed communications are making it impossible to learn the extent of destruction. Also unknown is the number of dead lying among thousands of collapsed buildings in Haiti's capital. Survivors have been coping with a series of aftershocks.

U.N. peacekeepers have been searching for those believed missing in the ruins of what had been their headquarters. China is reporting that eight of its peacekeepers were killed, and Jordan says it lost three.

Much of Haiti's National Palace has been flattened. But a government official says Haitian President Rene Preval and his wife survived the disaster. He gave no further details.

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GENEVA (AP) -- The International Federation of the Red Cross estimates that up to 3 million people have been affected by a powerful earthquake that caused massive destruction in the Haitian capital.

Spokesman Paul Conneally says the fact that the quake occurred very close to Port-au-Prince was "not a good indicator"

He says Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the northern hemisphere and is ill-prepared to handle a major disaster

Conneally told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it would take 24-48 hours before a clear picture emerges of the scale of the destruction.

Meanwhile, international aid groups including the Red Cross are gearing up for a major relief effort in Haiti focused on rescuing survivors and setting up field hospitals for the wounded.

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) -- The U.S. and other countries are scrambling to help Haiti as its people stagger in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake.

American disaster rescue teams are being deployed. President Barack Obama says the U.S. stands ready to help Haiti, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton promises full assistance -- civilian and military.

Venezuela says it's planning to send a military aircraft carrying canned foods, medicine, and drinking water. Venezuela also promises a team of 50 rescue workers.

Mexico, which is no stranger to strong earthquakes, says it will send doctors, search and rescue dogs, and infrastructure damage experts.

Haitian musician Wyclef Jean is urging fans on his Web site to donate to earthquake relief efforts.

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