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Haiti's strongest earthquake in more than two centuries rocked the Caribbean nation on Tuesday, causing dozens of buildings to collapse and raising fears that many people have died, officials and witnesses said.
Witnesses reported seeing dead bodies lying on the street and hearing cries for help in the impoverished and crowded capital of Port-au-Prince, located just 10 miles northwest of the earthquake's epicenter, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Daniel Morel
Buildings in Haiti collapsed Tuesday after a devastating earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince.

"I saw dead bodies, people are screaming, they are on the street panicking, people are hurt," Raphaelle Chenet, the administrator of Mercy and Sharing, a charity that takes care of 109 orphans, said in a telephone interview from the capital. "There are a lot of wounded, broken heads, broken arms."
A hospital in Port-au-Prince collapsed, along with dozens of other buildings, including at one building in the presidential compound and one other government ministry building, according to Alice Blanchet, a special adviser to the Haitian government. Other landmark buildings in the capital, including the U.N. headquarters and the Hotel Montana, sustained heavy damage, witnesses said.
Ms. Blanchet, who had been in contact with several Haitian government officials, said the building that collapsed in the presidential compound was not the main presidential palace.
"I think the only good news was that it hit late and many of the people who would have been working in the buildings were on the street or at home," she said.
The United Nations Department of Peacekeeping Operations said U.N. headquarters in the capital "sustained serious damage."

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