Red Cross volunteers in Haiti are currently assisting the injured and supporting hospitals. The British Red Cross has launched the Haiti Earthquake Appeal to support the relief effort.
The earthquake, which hit the capital Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country, is reported to be the worst quake to strike the country in 200 years. The most affected area is Haiti's West Province with a population of 2.2 million.
Pete Garratt, disaster relief manager, said: "This catastrophe has affected thousands of people in Haiti, which is the poorest country in the northern hemisphere, and they desperately need help.
"The most urgent needs right now are search and rescue, hospital care, clean water, emergency shelter and logistics. With the earthquake affecting a combination of urban and mountainous rural areas, we expect the needs to substantially increase."
The British Red Cross has already released =A3200,000 from its Disaster Fund to support the relief effort and the Vodafone Foundation immediately made a =A325,000 donation to the appeal. However, the sheer scale of this disaster means much more will be needed.
Red Cross staff and volunteers are on the scene, and emergency stocks have been released within Haiti and from other warehouses in the region. The Red Cross has pre-positioned relief supplies for 3,000 families in Haiti. These emergency supplies consist of kitchen kits, shelter kits, personal hygiene kits, blankets and containers for storing drinking water.
A group of experts in disaster response, emergency healthcare and logistics, sent by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, will arrive in Haiti later today to support the Haitian Red Cross relief operation.
They will also co-ordinate international assistance from other Red Cross National Societies as well as other organisations. In addition, a Red Cross team will lead a damage assessment together with the Humanitarian Aid Office of the European Union.
In the event that we raise more money than can be reasonably and efficiently spent, any surplus funds will be used to help us prepare for and respond to other humanitarian disasters either overseas or here in the UK.