I / Geneva January 15, 2010, 17:45 IST
An estimated 300,000 people have been left homeless by the devastating earthquake in Haiti, with one in 10 homes in the capital Port-au-Prince, the United Nations said today.
A helicopter assessment by the UN mission in Haiti found that some areas suffered "50 per cent destruction."
"First estimates suggest some 10 per cent of the housing in Port-au-Prince has been destroyed, which roughly translates to about 300,000 people left homeless," said Elisabeth Byrs, spokeswoman of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
OCHA in a situation report said some 3.5 million people live in areas hit by "strong shaking" from the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that flattened much of Haitian capital Port-au-Prince this week.
"The estimated population of Port-au-Prince is 2.8 million, with some 3.5 million people living in areas affected by strong shaking from the earthquake," it said.
Besides Port-au-Prince, Jacmel -- an area south of the capital and Carrefour -- a suburb close to the capital, are also affected, according to the aerial assessment carried out by the UN.
The agency stressed that search and rescue assistance remains the top priority, while food, clean water and sanitation are also critical.
"Needs are expected to increase in the short term as assessments take place," it said, noting that casualty numbers are increasing at hospital and clinics.