Hundreds are feared dead in the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti, toppling buildings including UN Headquarters in capital Port-au-Prince, as UN chief Ban Ki-moon today declared it as a "major humanitarian emergency" that requires a "massive relief effort".
The authorities are yet to figure out the extend of casualties and damage caused by the 7.0-magnitude tremor, the worst to hit Haiti in over a century, he said.
"We are yet to establish the number of dead or injured, which we fear may well be in the hundreds. Medical facilities have been inundated with injured. Basic services such as water, electricity, have collapsed almost entirely," he told reporters here.
The quake, which struck yesterday, toppled the presidential palace, a major hotel where 200 tourists were missing and the headquarters of the UN mission in Haiti where up to 250 personnel were unaccounted. Those UN staff missing includes the Secretary-General's Special Representative Hedi Annabi and his deputy Luiz Carlos da Costa.
Ban said he was sending Edmond Mulet, the deputy head of the UN department of peacekeeping operations (DPKO) and Annabi's predecessor, to Haiti to lead the relief and rescue operations.