updated 9 minutes ago
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti - Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after a powerful earthquake crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.
Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told Reuters that thousands of buildings had collapsed in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and said he believed the casualties would be "in the range of thousands of dead."
He added he could give no clear official estimate. Soon after, however, Bellerive told CNN he believed well over 100,000 people could have died. Other officials said it was too early to give a precise accounting of the toll.
International Red Cross spokesman Paul Conneally said an estimated 3 million people may have been affected by the quake
"Parliament has collapsed. The tax office has collapsed. Schools have collapsed. Hospitals have collapsed,'' he said.
The quake struck at 4:53 p.m., centered 10 miles west of Port-au-Prince at a depth of only 5 miles, the U.S. Geological Survey said. USGS geophysicist Kristin Marano called it the strongest earthquake since 1770 in what is now Haiti.
Has an informative discussion of the Haiti earthquake.