Digicel, the Irish-run cell phone company with a strong presence in Haiti, where it employs some 600 people, has pledged $5 million to help relief efforts in the country.

Digicel owner Denis O’Brien has been left shocked at the level of devastation in the country after a 7.0 earthquake hit on Tuesday.

"There's widespread chaos. If you look at the news reports . .  . it's 20 times what you're seeing on television," O’Brien told Irish national broadcaster RTE.

"There are thousands of people who have lost their lives and many more who are severely injured. Everyone will remember the coverage of the earthquake in China and this is as bad as that."
The death toll is expected to rise as the level of chaos and destruction wrought upon the country emerges.

The sum Digicel has pledged will be routed to the NGOs driving relief efforts in the country.

"We want to do whatever we can to support the desperately needed relief efforts. We hope that governments around the world will also support the people of Haiti and immediately provide much needed aid to assist with the huge recovery efforts that are now needed," said Digicel Chief Executive Colm Delves in a statement.

The Digicel phone network was damaged but is still working, and the company is about to issue a team to the country to evaluate the damage to its communications network. The company’s HQ building in Port au Prince is still intact.

One Digicel staff member is missing, as is a member of the company’s security detail.