A huge international effort to assist has swung into action. Australian NGOs currently working in Haiti are responding immediately. Australian agencies are also working through their partner agencies to provide urgent food, water, shelter and medical assistance.
A powerful earthquake of 7.0 magnitude affected Haiti on 12 January at around 4 pm local time. The earthquake struck 17km south west of the capital Port-au-Prince. The extent of the damage is not currently known, however it is feared that causalities number in the thousands and initial reports indicate widespread damage. There is an urgent need for search and rescue assistance. Port-au-Prince has been severely affected including critical city infrastructure components such as electricity, water and phone services. Electricity is not available and communications are difficult. At this stage there is very limited access because of debris and other obstacles on the roads. The airport in the capital is reported to be closed.