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Haiti Quake Website Buckles

Portal meant to disseminate information about conditions and collect donations goes offline.

The main Web site for distributing information about victims and relief efforts in earthquake-stricken Haiti has crashed under the strain of hits from millions of individuals worldwide seeking updates on the temblor.

The Web site for the Center for International Disaster Information was non-responsive as of midday Thursday.

The Center is operated through a grant from the United States Agency for International Development. It was established to provide urgent bulletins and real-time updates about conditions in disaster areas, as well as collect donations and other forms of assistance.

On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-California) advised those looking to contribute to relief efforts to use the CIDI site, which apparently crashed under the traffic spike.

The 7.0 earthquake struck Haiti's capital city of Port Au Prince late afternoon on Tuesday. The quake flattened a vast percentage of the city's low-rise, concrete offices and homes. Estimates are that fatalities may be in the tens of thousands, but confirmed information remained sketchy.

Some worried relatives of those caught in the quake zone have turned to social networking tools such as Facebook or Twitter in an effort to reach their loved ones or find out information on their whereabouts.

Several pages sprang up on Facebook almost immediately after the quake.

One such page, Earthquake Haiti, now has more than 100,000 members. Another page promised to donate $1.00 to Haiti relief efforts for every individual that joined the group. It had more than 70,000 members as of midday Thursday.

The U.S. Embassy estimates there are about 45,000 Americans living in Haiti. The fate of many of them remained unclear.

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