Presidential palace at Port-au-Prince among buildings down

A magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti with an epicenter inland only 10 miles from the capital Port-au-Prince, bringing down buildings includingt he presidential palace, Reuters reports.

The United Nations said a large number of its personnel in Haiti were unaccounted for after a five-story building at the headquarters of the UN mission collapsed.

The quake prompted a tsunami watch for parts of the Caribbean but this was later cancelled.

Shallow and powerful

Experts said the quake's epicenter was at a depth of only 6.2 miles, which magnified the destruction.

Dale Grant, a US Geological Survey geophysicist in Golden, Colorado, said: "There were two major quakes there in 1751 and 1770 but, since then, there has not been a quake of this magnitude," Grant said.