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CALL TO ACTION!

The people of Haiti need your help. Here are the best ways to aid the crisis relief and rescue efforts:

Donate $$ via text message:

1. Donate $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund (Wyclef Jean’s Foundation) by texting “Yele” to 501501 (the amount will be charged to your cell phone bill) or visit www.Yele.org and click “Donate.”

2. Donate $10 through the U.S. Dept. of State: text “HAITI” to “90999″ and $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross, charged to your cell phone bill. Or call (800) RED-CROSS.

Donate $$ via the Internet or US Mail:

1. Save the Children. Donate at savethechildren.org or make checks out to “Save the Children” and mail to: Save the Children Income Processing Department, 54 Wilton Road, Westport, Conn. 06880

2. UNICEF. Go online to unicefusa.org/haitiquake (site may load slowly) or call (800) 4UNICEF.

3. Direct Relief International. Donate online at directrelief.org.

4. Mercy Corp. Go online to mercycorps.org or mail checks to Haiti Earthquake Fund, Dept. NR, PO Box 2669, Portland, Ore. 97208 or call (888) 256-1900

5. American Red Cross. Text “HAITI” to 90999 and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross and appear on your bill.

NEED INFORMATION?

Americans seeking info on family in Haiti, call toll free 1-8884074747.

WHAT HAPPENED?

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Haitians piled bodies along the devastated streets of their capital Wednesday after the strongest earthquake hit the poor Caribbean nation in more than 200 years crushed thousands of structures, from schools and shacks to the National Palace and the U.N. peacekeeping headquarters. Untold numbers were still trapped.

The devastation was so complete that it seemed likely the death toll from Tuesday afternoon’s magnitude-7.0 quake would run into the thousands. France’s foreign minister said the head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission was apparently among the dead.

International Red Cross spokesman Paul Conneally said an estimated 3 million people may have been affected by the quake and that it would take a day or two for a clear picture of the damage to emerge.

Aftershocks rattled the city of 2 million people as women covered in dust clawed out of debris, wailing. Stunned people wandered the streets holding hands. Thousands gathered in public squares singing hymns.

People pulled bodies from collapsed homes, covering them with sheets by the side of the road. Passersby lifted the sheets to see if a loved one was underneath. Outside a crumbled building the bodies of five children and three adults lay in a pile.

The United States and other nations began organizing aid efforts, alerting search teams and gathering supplies that will be badly needed in the Western Hemisphere’s poorest country. The international Red Cross and other aid groups announced plans for major relief operations.

“Haiti has moved to center of the world’s thoughts and the world’s compassion,” said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

It was clear tens of thousands lost their homes and many perished in collapsed buildings that were flimsy and dangerous even under normal conditions.

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