Yaani Drucker – An Amazing Story Of Fear And The Triumph Of Love

Yaani Drucker – An Amazing Story Of Fear And The Triumph Of Love

A Yaani Drucker Story

A Yaani Drucker Story


The following account by Yaani Drucker is an amazing story about how a brutal, fearful and violent attack took an unexpected “quantum leap” into self-healing, love and compassion through the transformative power & inspiration of Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba.

What Is Real And What Is Unreal?

From the unreal, lead me to the real
From darkness, lead me to the light
From death lead me to Immortality

(Talk presented by Yaani Drucker at the United Kingdom Sai Baba retreat, April, 2000, followed by excerpts from Al Drucker’s talk on the same subject)

I would like to share a story with you that is not real, that never happened, and that had no effect on truth. It did however serve me deeply as a wake-up call, as a classroom for discerning that which is real and eternal from that which is unreal and has no power over me. It revealed to me the truth of who I really am.

Fourteen years ago, I had a most intense experience, first incredibly brutal, and now seen as a true spiritual turning point. Up to that moment I had been Sai Baba’s ardent devotee living a simple life as a Montessori teacher, residing by myself, spending 6 months out of every year in India with Baba. Life was beautiful.Then one night everything changed. It was Mahashivaratri in India, the holiest day of the year. I was staying in a Sai Baba center in California. We were scheduled to celebrate with an all-night bhajan the following evening. I was fast asleep in a room adjoining the bhajan hall. It was 3:00 am. It could not have been a more auspicious time or setting.

Suddenly I am jolted into awakening by a threatening voice ordering, “Scream and I’ll kill you.” I feel a knife at my throat, and see a massive menacing figure looming over me. Still groggy I instinctively scream, and to shut me up he pummels me in the face with his fist. I am drenched in blood. He gags me and ties me up and rips my bedclothes off me. In total terror I cry out to Baba to come and save me. Somehow, in my heart of hearts I fully expect Baba to physically appear and dispel this horrendous nightmare that has suddenly overtaken me. Baba did not come. And yet he did. Even while I was being raped, within me all fear and horror of the situation had left. Quite inexplicably I became very calm and to my astonishment discovered an incredible compassion welling up in my heart.

As he was leaving, I managed a muffled, “God bless you.” He hissed back, “God hates me!” and disappeared into the night. I struggled to untie myself and went to get help. The police were called and the man was caught. He had a long criminal history; he had been in and out of jail. And yet, this time something had changed for him. From his jail cell he made a considerable effort to get a message to me. And that message was, “I feel bad about what I did. I’m real sorry I hurt you. Please pray for me.” So, even in that horrible scene God was present and even the rapist was affected. To my surprise, I could muster no anger toward the man. I found myself focusing not on my personal trauma but on the tragedy of the human condition that could lead to such a desperate state.

Although my body was badly beaten and bruised I remember absolutely no pain. Yet, it was not like I wasn’t traumatized or bewildered. I remember walking outside in the night and feeling afraid that somebody might be lurking behind a bush. When anyone entered my room I was startled and jittery, feelings that were completely uncharacteristic for me. In my being I felt tainted and my familiar sense of security, knowing that I was always in the protective hands of the divine, had been badly shaken. My confusion centered entirely on Sai Baba. In my mind, Baba, in whom I had put complete trust and whom I regarded as my savior, had not helped me, though I had desperately called out to him. Why hadn’t he? I kept praying to Baba, imploring him, “Why did you let this happen to me? Please help me to understand.” As I was praying thus, I distinctly heard Sai Baba’s voice gently asking, “What happened to you?” “I was raped, brutalized, robbed, and my very life was threatened” came my response, “and I called out to you, but you did not come!” Again Baba asked, ever so tenderly, “What happened to you?”

Suddenly, I understood. Nothing had happened to me. I remembered one of my favorite passages in the Bhagavad Gita where Krishna taught Arjuna, “You are not this perishable body. You cannot be destroyed by weapons, you cannot be incinerated by fire, you cannot be drowned by water, you cannot be blown away by the raging tempest. You are the indestructible, eternal Atma, the one Self.” Suddenly this mystical pronouncement of Lord Krishna was no longer a conceptual thought but a direct experience for me. My bewilderment, my fears and feelings of abandonment all dissolved in the light of that incredible realization.

Far from failing me and abandoning me, Baba revealed to me the truth of who I am, the immortal Self, and there is nothing in the whole universe that can ever threaten me. I knew myself to be invulnerable, indestructible, eternal. I exploded in joy and exhilaration. What a surprising outcome for such an intense and fearful happening! It turned out to be the quantum leap into the discovery of who I truly am. I am so very grateful. Thank you God!

Reference

Sathya Saibaba Miracle -The Interchanged Letters

Sathya Saibaba Miracle -The Interchanged Letters

The grace of Sathya Sai Baba works for different people in different ways.

A chambal decoit and a spiritual aspirant sat next to each other awaiting Sathya Sai Baba’s blessings during the evening darshan.

When Baba came close to them, the dacoit handed over a letter to Him which He threw it at the spiritual aspirant. When the aspirant gave his letter to Baba, Baba just looked at the envelope and threw it at the dacoit. The letters were thus interchanged.

After Sathya Sai Baba’s departure, a quarrel brewed between the dacoit and the aspirant. The dacoit demanded his letter back from the aspirant, while the latter refused saying that it was Baba’s prasad for him. Soon a group gathered around the two. The other devotees however intervened and passified the dacoit. An old devotee opened the two letters. The letter given to the dacoit which was actually the spiritual aspirant’s contained a five hundred rupees note and the other which which was given to the sadhaka (which was the dacoit’s original letter) contained a plain paper in which he (dacoit) had written a petition on. The letters on the letter had vanished!

The next day when Sathya Sai Baba came for darshan, He addressed both the dacoit and the aspirant. He told the dacoit, “You had faith in me that you wrote down all your sins in a sheet of paper seeking forgiveness from me. You had written that if I accepted the letter, you would take it as I have forgiven you. That is why the paper that you gave has now come back to you after this quarrel as a plain sheet sans the writing. This means that I have accepted your sins and have forgiven you!”

Satya SaiBaba then looked at the spiritual aspirant and said, “You were here for 7 days, waiting for my darshan. Your money is now exhausted. You had mentioned it in your letter. I have given you 500 rupees for your travel and to fill your stomach on the way!”

Both the devotees fell at Baba’s feet with gratitude.

One India Forum Reference

Language of the heart – Author Ramesh Sharma believes being spiritual is being human

Language of the heart – Author Ramesh Sharma believes being spiritual is being human
by Bissme S.

Since young, Ramesh Sharma has been fascinated about finding out the true purpose of human life. As he grew older, he continued with his quest, even going on trips to India to meet up with spiritual gurus.

Two years ago, the 53-year-old former salesman decided to write down his experiences.

A Buddhist Disciple Muk Tho’s Journey of Spiritual Mystic (Pristine Books, RM33.80) tells of some experiences which might seem ‘miraculous’ and somewhat out of this world.

For instance, there is the story about a garland his mother had placed on a photograph of Indian mystic Sathya Sai Baba which, his mother claimed, had grown longer.

“When she first told me about it, I didn’t believe her,” says Ramesh (bottom) at a recent reading of his book. “So when my mother told me again that the garland had grown longer, I was ready to prove her wrong.”

He decided to measure its length. To his surprise, he found the garland had actually grown longer! In the end, it grew so long that it touched the floor of the prayer room where the photo was placed.

Ramesh, who was 12 then, was speechless and spellbound.

Then when he was 15, he was stung on the hand by a bee. While getting ready to go to the hospital, his maid suddenly went into a trance and acted like she was possessed by the monkey god Hanuman (an Indian deity).

She grabbed his hand and sucked out the poison.

“I was trembling at that time,” he recalls. “Amazingly, the swelling on my hand went down.”

Another story also concerned his mother. During a trip to see Sathya Sai Baba in India years ago, she was given a locket by this holy man. But on the day she died, the locket mysteriously disappeared and was never found.

Of course, sceptics might have a hard time digesting some of these stories but Ramesh remains unperturbed.

“Miracles and divine interventions are experienced by people of all religions and races,” claims the author, who grew up in Penang.

“Spirituality cannot be found in books nor can it be intellectualised. It needs to be experienced through self endeavour and enquiry. Do not take my word for it.”

He encourages people to go on their own journey to find the meaning of life, love and god. “You cannot look for those things from other people’s experiences,” he adds.

Ramesh also believes that the human race will always want to be one with the Creator. “But man must be sincere in his quest to be connected to God. Being sincere means not asking for material wealth all the time. The human race always asks for the wrong things from God.

“Real happiness is not always equated to the material things in life but rather, it is within you – the way you feel and see things in life with contentment.”

He believes that God wants the human race to lead a fruitful life. “You should ask for virtues that will make you a better person. You should ask for strength and guidance.

“When you leave this world, you’re going to leave your money behind and where you’re going will depend on your good deeds.”

He dismisses the notion that being spiritual is about wearing robes, chanting mantras and meditating in a cave. “Being spiritual is being human,” he says. “And being human is about touching someone’s heart.”

Pointing to the late Mother Teresa as an example of a truly great human being, Ramesh says she once brought home a dying homeless man and bathed and cleaned him. She held his hand as he breathed his last.

“Before dying, the homeless man apparently told her: ‘I had lived my life as a pauper but I’m going to die as a king’.

The man was grateful that there was someone who loved him enough to clean him up and hold his hand on his deathbed. It is love that everyone is craving for, and not material wealth.”

It was his mother, Nivedita Joshi, who triggered his interest in spirituality. She was an ardent reader of books on this subject.

He was especially struck by a line in one book, Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. It says: “Why do you search for me when I am within you,” which he found very comforting.

Years later, when he inherited most of her books after her death, he read all of them and they opened up a whole new world of experiences for him – one that he cherishes till today.

Reference

The Divine Alchemy-A Miracle Of Sathya Saibaba

The Divine Alchemy-A Miracle Of Sathya Saibaba

Is there an end to Sathya SaiBaba’s miracles, that take place in glorious, mysterious ways?

Buzz up! A fascinating episode has been recorded in “Sai Baba: Invitation to Glory” by Howard Murphet.

There is no dearth for miracles in a Master’s prescence. Divine alchemy as we may call it, when Jesus Christ turned water to wine at Cana in Galiliee and Mosses turned the river Nile to a stream of blood in Egypt, is still a continuing story as Sathya Sai Baba turns water into petrol.

An old Sai devotee was once driving with Baba and others, just after the second World War, through the country side, heading to a religious festival. It so happened that the car car stopped mid way in want of fuel. One of the passengers knew a fuel station down the road but was not sure about the availability of petrol. The driver opted to buy petrol from somewhere nearby but since the availability was the seeming question, Swami asked him to fetch a pail of water from the house that stood less than a hundred meters from them.

When the driver returned with the bucket of water, Swami Sathya Baba played his finger on the surface of the water as those who accompanied Him stood watching silently. He then instructed the driver to pour the ‘Water-fuel’ into the petrol tank warning him not spill even a drop. Soon the Swami and the othres began to drive as the car responded to Swami’s miraculous petrol!

If this achemy could happen in Sathya Sai Baba’s physical presence, there are instances where it could happen in the absence of His bodily presence. The petrol tank of Mr. Gordon Chetty’s car, a nine seater Station Wagon, was always full miraculously! The vehicle was employed in spreading Baba’s teachings irespective of the distance. It happened eleven times in two years.

Once Mr. Gordon was in a wedding party when suddenly he was called by someone urgently to attend to the petrol spilling out of the tank. It was always a usual happening that his parked car would have its petrol tank full miraculously, and a little of the fuel overflowing. It was customary of a huge crowd, of over hundreds, watching each such miracle. At this particular happening there were about 800 spectators and twelve people who collected the overflowing petrol for their own use!

Is there anything that Grace cannot manifest?

One India Reference

Warner Bros Arranges A Strange Trip

Warner Bros Arranges A Strange Trip

There is no trace of impossibility in the world of Baba!

Indra Devi, an ardent devotee of Sri Sathya Sai Baba taught Yoga in Canada. It is said that she witnessed numerous miracles of Sathya saibaba in her life.

Once Indra Devi had not planned to attend the birthday of Baba as she was due to visit the country later. After her meditation session one evening, she looked at Baba’s picture and wished, “Bhagavan take me to Puttaparthi for your birthday”.

Two years later, the devotee received a phone call from a young man who used to frequent the Sai Baba Centre in Los Angeles, called Chuk Wein. Chuk Wein said that he was calling from the Warner Brothers Motion Picture Studio and asked if she would go to India the very next day to seek Sai’s permission to make a documentary picture of His life! He also added that Warner Bros will bear the cost for her travel.

Indra Devi started for India after two days. She learnt from the manager of Air India, Los Angeles that the “Warner Bros” had paid for her tickets. She arrived just when the celebrations of Baba’s birthday had commenced, early morning when Bhagavan hoisted the Prashanthi Nilayam flag and delivered His birthday message.

Sathya Sai Baba declared that He was an incarnation of ‘Shiva Sakti’ in order to guide men towards God. He stressed the necessity of a pure heart and the need to cleanse it in order to gain discrimination and love through grace. He said that He was born as ‘love’ in each and everyone and only the day when love is born in one can ever be His birthday!

Swami then proceeded from the temple to the auditorium in procession. Easwaramma, Sai’s mother garlanded Him and anointed His head with a flower dipped in fragrant oil. Sai Gita, the elephant headed the whole procession.

Indra Devi also had the good fortune of Sai to bless her just the day before her departure. When she was about to leave, Sai materialized a gold medallion of Goddess Lakshmi. Indra Devi pleaded that she did not want anything. But Sai pressed her to accept it saying that it was for the protection of her house, “This is not for you… for the protection of the house – no more fires”.

Little was the devotee aware of the difficulty that was about to befall if not for the divine protection of Sai, as she was about to loose her ranch.

Having returned from India, the blessed devotee visited the Warner Bros Studio. Wonder of wonders not a soul ever knew Saibaba, leave alone her trip to India that they sponsored!

It was yet another Leela or the Divine play of Baba!

One India Reference

E.B. resident organizes large shipment to Haiti

E.B. resident organizes large shipment to Haiti
BY JANE MEGGITT Staff Writer

EAST BRUNSWICK — As she watched TV newscasts showing the bodies of Haitian earthquake victims alongside the rubble of Port-au-Prince, Lucy Aita knew she had to do something.

Aita had lost her fiancé, Paul Innella, 33, of East Brunswick, in the Sept. 11, 2001, World Trade Center attacks, and she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder triggered by the sight of collapsed buildings.

Aita decided she had to help the victims of this latest disaster, and through an e-mail chain she began coordinating donations of food, water, medical supplies and clothing for the earthquake victims. This resulted in a truckload of items picked up Monday by the Mercy Center, Asbury Park, which will have them shipped to Haiti.

According to Aita, at least 200 people responded with donations. While she thought she might collect 40-50 boxes of items, the number was in excess of 100 boxes and 50 garbage bags full of materials. These included 700 bottles of water, 400 cans of food, 10,000 items of clothing, shoes, towels and sheets, and medical supplies such as alcohol, bandages and antiseptics. There were so many items that Aita’s garage could not hold them all, so her neighbor, Anita Varshney, who also aided the effort, stored many in her garage.

Among the organizations donating were the Sri Sathya Sai Baba centers in Edison and East Brunswick. Venkat Kannepalli, who coordinated the donations for the Edison chapter of the spiritual organization, said his group collected 75 boxes of items, which took nine people to load for delivery to Aita’s house. All of the goods were collected within 18 hours of receiving the e-mail, he said. The organizer for the East Brunswick chapter, Ramesh Gulrajani, said donors went to Hamilton to buy toiletries for men and women and put them in ziplock bags. He said volunteers Rewo Nawani and Mia Matovic helped coordinate the donations.

Aita’s boyfriend, Charles Macagnone, is the grand knight of the St. Ambrose Knights of Columbus, Old Bridge, and his group collected 15 bags for the Haitian relief effort.

Soledad Marcelus of Asbury Park, whose family founded the Laurence Georgette Lizaire Foundation in memory of their grandmother, worked with the Mercy Center in the effort. Her grandmother, who died in 1997, was from Haiti and regularly sent supplies to her native country, according to Marcelus. After her death, her children and grandchildren formed the foundation to continue her legacy.

Marcelus said the group is working with Joint Base McGuire-Dix- Lakehurst to have the donations shipped.

Setinel Reference

Also see:
Haiti Earthquake 2010 – Pictures, News & Resources

Haiti Earthquake 2010 – Pictures, News & Resources

Haiti Earthquake 2010 – Pictures, News & Resources

Our prayers go out to all the victims of the Haiti Earthquake.

MENU (click on link to go to relevant section)

  1. Haiti Earthquake Relief – Aid – Help – Donations & Donate
  2. Checking On Relatives In Haiti
  3. Person Finder – Haiti Earthquake
  4. Videos / Pictures Of Haiti Earthquake
  5. Haiti – Relevant Links
  6. Hospitals In Haiti
  7. Earthquake In Haiti Detail Overview
  8. Pray For Haiti – Healing Mandala
  9. Two News Articles About The Earthquake In Haiti

(Menu) Haiti Earthquake Relief – How To Help – Donations & Donate:

SMS donations in the US only:

  • SMS text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts
  • SMS text “YELE” to 501501 to Donate $5 to Yele Haiti’s Earthquake Relief efforts
  • SMS text “GIVE10” to 20222 to donate $10 to Direct Relief

Donation Info In Detail:

  • UNICEF has issued a statement that “Children are always the most vulnerable population in any natural disaster, and UNICEF is there for them.” UNICEF requests donations for relief for children in Haiti via their Haiti Earthquake Fund. You can also call 1-800-4UNICEF.
  • Operation USA is appealing for donations of funds from the public and corporate donations in bulk of health care materials, water purification supplies and food supplements which it will ship to the region from its base in the Port of Los Angeles. Donate online at http://www.opusa.org, by phone at 1-800-678-7255 or, by check made out to Operation USA, 3617 Hayden Ave, Suite A, Culver City, CA 90232.
  • Mercy Corps established a Haiti Earthquake Fund, PO Box 2669,Portland, OR 97208, mercycorps.org, 1-888-256-1900
  • The Archdiocese of Miami is accepting financial donations to assist with recovery efforts for the earthquake victims in Haiti. People may send their donations to Catholic Charities, 1505 NE 26th St. Wilton Manors, FL 33305, Attention Earthquake Victims.
  • The Pan American Development Foundation (PADF) — the natural disaster relief arm of the OAS — was asking people who want to donate to visit its special relief website called PanAmericanRelief.org.

Other Donation Sites / Links:

(Menu) Checking On Relatives In Haiti:

  • For information or inquiries about U.S. citizens in Haiti, please call 888-407-4747. Outside of the U.S. and Canada, call 202-501-4444. You may email inquiries to: Haiti-Earthquake@state.gov. More about the crisis and how to help: state.gov/haitiquake.
  • For U.S. Citizens in Haiti Seeking Assistance or Reporting Their Status/Whereabouts: Call the Embassy’s Consular Task Force at 509-2229-8942, 509-2229-8089, 509-2229-8322, or 509-2229-8672. Email the Embassy at ACSPaP@state.gov.

(Menu) Person Finder – Haiti Earthquake:

(Menu) Videos / Pictures Of Haiti Earthquake:

(Menu) Haiti – Relevant Links:

(Menu) Hospitals In Haiti:

  • Hopital du Canape Vert
    Route du Canape Vert, Port-au-Prince, Canape Vert, Haiti
    509-2245-0984
    509-2245-1052
    509-2245-3365
    509-2245-6705
  • Hopital Francais d’Haiti
    378, Rue du Centre, Port-au-Prince, Centre Ville, Haiti
    509-2222-5966
    509-2223-9979
  • Hopital Maternite Sapiens
    Avenue Christophe # 120
    509-2245-8349
  • Hopital de l’Universite d’Etat d’Haiti
    Angle Rues Mgr Guilloux et St Honore, Port-au-Prince, Champs de Mars, Haiti
    509-2222-967
    509-2222-1614
  • Hopital Saint Francois de Sales
    Rue Chareron, Port-au-Prince, Haiti
    5092225033
    5092220232
  • Hopital OFATMA
    Cite Militaire
    5092223846
  • Clinique de la Santé
    102, Ave Poupelard (Après Ruelle Chrétien)
    5092459906
    5092440935

(Menu) Earthquake In Haiti Detail Overview:

Magnitude: 7.0

Date-Time: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 21:53:09 UTC / Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 04:53:09 PM at epicenter

Location: 18.451°N, 72.445°W

Depth: 10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program

Region: HAITI REGION

Distances: 15 km (10 miles) SW of PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti / 140 km (90 miles) E of Les Cayes, Haiti / 145 km (90 miles) WNW of Barahona, Dominican Republic / 1140 km (710 miles) SE of Miami, Florida

Location Uncertainty: horizontal +/- 8.3 km (5.2 miles); depth fixed by location program

Parameters: NST=103, Nph=103, Dmin=365.7 km, Rmss=1.14 sec, Gp= 94°, M-type=teleseismic moment magnitude (Mw), Version=7

Source: USGS NEIC (WDCS-D)

Event ID: us2010rja6

(Menu) Pray For Haiti – Healing Mandala:

Pray For Our Brothers And Sisters In Haiti

Pray For Our Brothers And Sisters In Haiti


(Menu) Two News Articles About The Earthquake In Haiti:

Haiti earthquake: staff missing as UN headquarters damaged

The headquarters of the UN mission in Haiti has been seriously damaged by a powerful earthquake that shook the capital Port-au-Prince.
Published: 3:56AM GMT 13 Jan 2010

Many staff are missing following the quake, the United Nations said.

“The United Nations can confirm that the Headquarters of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) in Port-au-Prince has sustained serious damage along with other UN installations,” the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Alain le Roy said in a statement issued in New York.

“For the moment, a large number of personnel remain unaccounted for,” he said.

He said officials in Haiti were still trying to gather information on the effects of the quake, which caused chaos across the capital of the impoverished country just before nightfall, collapsing buildings and cutting power in the city.

The UN stabilisation force, which numbers about 9,000 troops and police, was sent in to try to bring order to the country that has been wracked by violence for years.

In another part of the city, at least two Americans, one of them a young aid worker related to a retired senior US naval officer, were believed to be among those trapped in the rubble.

The executive director of Haitian Ministries for the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut, Emily Smack, said the mission house house had partially collapsed during the earthquake.

She identified the staffers as the mission’s acting director, Jillian Thorp, and a management consultant, Charles Dietsch, who has been working with the ministry. (Haiti Earthquake Reference)

Haiti Earthquake Pictures

Haiti Earthquake Pictures

Haiti earthquake feared to have killed many

A 7.0-magnitude earthquake which struck off the coast of Haiti is feared to have caused major loss of life in and around the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti’s worst quake in two centuries seriously damaged the HQ of the UN mission in Haiti and a “large number” of its personnel are reported missing.

The national palace and a hospital are among other buildings badly damaged, and rescuers are digging under rubble.

Haiti’s envoy to the US said it was a “catastrophe of major proportions”.

The quake, which struck about 15km (10 miles) south-west of the capital, was quickly followed by two strong aftershocks of 5.9 and 5.5 magnitude.

The tremor hit at 1653 (2153 GMT), the US Geological Survey said. Phone lines to the country failed shortly afterwards.

A Reuters reporter in Port-au-Prince, Joseph Guyler Delva, said he had seen “dozens of dead and injured people” in the rubble of fallen buildings.

Karel Zelenka, a Catholic Relief Services representative in Port-au-Prince, told colleagues in the US “there must be thousands of people dead”.

The aid worker had managed to phone his colleagues before communication links went down.

The BBC’s Nick Davies in neighbouring Jamaica says the ground apparently shook for more than a minute in Haiti.

Local people, he said, were using anything they could get their hands on – including farm equipment – to help release those trapped in the quake.

Our correspondent adds that, as the poorest country in the western hemisphere, Haiti is likely to need international aid in order to cope with the quake’s impact.

‘Three million affected’

In a statement issued in New York, the UN said that its local HQ in Haiti had “sustained serious damage along with other UN installations”.

“A large number of personnel remain unaccounted for,” it added.

The UN stabilisation mission plays a vital role in ensuring security in Haiti.

Raymond Joseph, Haiti’s ambassador to the US, told CNN: “I think it is really a catastrophe of major proportions.”

He said he had just spoken to a government colleague in Port-au-Prince:

“He had to stop his car just about half an hour ago, and take to the streets, start walking, but he said houses were crumbling on the right side of the street and the left side of the street. He does not know whether he would reach his home, not knowing what he would find, because he had a bridge to cross to get there.”

Mike Blanpied of the US Geological Survey said that, based on the location and size of the quake, about three million people will have been severely shaken by its impact.

“This quake occurred under land as opposed to off-shore, so a lot of people were directly exposed to the shaking coming off that earthquake fault, which was quite shallow,” he told the BBC.

He added that as the quake had occurred near a highly populated urban area, the aftershocks could cause additional damage to already shaken buildings.

US President Barack Obama said in a statement that his “thoughts and prayers” were with the people of Haiti and America stood ready to assist them.

‘Rubble and wire’

An Associated Press cameraman saw the wrecked hospital in Petionville, a hilly suburb of the capital, and Henry Bahn, a visiting official from the US Department of Agriculture, said he had seen houses which had tumbled into a ravine.

“Everybody is just totally, totally freaked out and shaken,” said Mr Bahn, who described the sky as “just grey with dust”.

He said he had been walking to his hotel room when the ground began to shake.

“I just held on and bounced across the wall,” he said.

“I just hear a tremendous amount of noise and shouting and screaming in the distance.”

He said rocks were strewn all over the place, and the ravine where several homes had fallen in was “just full of collapsed walls and rubble and barbed wire”.

BBC News website readers in the Dominican Republic, which borders Haiti on the island of Hispaniola, said they had also felt the quake.

“My family is on the 8th floor of a tower in downtown Santo Domingo,” wrote Max Levine.

“We felt a swaying of the building for 5-10 seconds. All the lamps were swinging. There was a 20-second pause and then another similar sway. We rushed out of the building with many others to the street.”

In the immediate aftermath of the quake, a tsunami watch was put out for Haiti, Cuba and the Bahamas, but this was later lifted. (Earthquake In Haiti Reference)