Major Earthquake Hits Haiti, Save the Children Staff Working On the Ground

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WESTPORT, Conn. (Jan. 12, 2010) - Save the Children is verifying the safety of staff just hours after a major 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, near the capital city of Port-au-Prince.

Houses are down in the area surrounding the Save the Children office, which was also damaged in the quake, according to Ian Rodgers, the agency's Emergency Response Advisor, who is currently in Port-au-Prince.

Listen to Ian Rodgers' eyewitness interview on CNN.com.

An estimated 1.8 million residents were violently shaken by the earthquake and aftershocks affecting the densely populated areas near Port-au-Prince.

Save the Children has worked in Haiti since 1985, primarily in the capital city of Port-au-Prince and the Central Plateau region, providing health, education, protection and food security programs to vulnerable children.

Right now, Save the Children is assessing staff and program safety, which will be complicated by the onset of evening. Employees who were in the office at the time are uninjured, though about half of program staff were elsewhere. The agency plans to deploy emergency teams and begin relief efforts soon.