Streets and buildings were filled with the dead as locals and rescue workers began to sift through the rubble last night.
A team of 64 British firefighters arrived on the Caribbean island in the early hours of this morning to offer specialist support to the rescue teams in the capital Port-au-Prince.
The Department for International Development has sent a team to assess how Britain can best provide support with a view to sending aid workers and cash in the next few days.
Last night the Foreign Office said it was not aware of any British casualties. At least 14 UN workers are thought to have been among those killed, with the UN mission chief feared to be among them.
Companies have already offered millions in aid money to the stricken region. Digicel Group, the biggest mobile provider in the region, run by Irish telecoms tycoon Denis O’Brien, has pledged $5m (£3m). Coca Cola will contribute $1m to the American Red Cross disaster relief fund. FedEx Corp and United Parcel Service will help rush supplies to Haiti.