A tsunami warning was in place for Haiti, Cuba, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic, with the first waves predicted to hit Haiti shortly.
The ambassador told media he was heartbroken as he had just spoken by telephone with a senior presidential aide who described scenes of chaos and devastation.
“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,” Joseph said.
“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.”
A US Coast Guard spokeswoman Jennifer Johnson in Florida said they did not have much information yet, saying they had not yet been able to contact their office in Haiti.
“We haven’t taken any measure in the area so far. We don’t have any information rather that what we got from the news,” she told media.
“We couldn’t contact our officer there yet, so we are waiting to have more information in a couple of hours.”
Already the poorest nation in the Americas, Haiti has been hit by a series of disasters recently and was battered by hurricanes in 2008.
The country was also gripped by a tense political standoff in April 2008 amid riots over skyrocketing food prices.
Seventy percent of Haiti’s population lives on less than two dollars per day and half of its 8.5 million people are unemployed.
According to official figures, food insecurity already affects more than a quarter of Haiti’s population, some 1.9 million people, with women and children the worst affected.
The Food and Agriculture Organization has designated Haiti as one of the world’s most economically vulnerable countries.
The WFP serves one meal a day to more than 500,000 Haitian schoolchildren, providing them with what is often their only meal of the day.
The organization also feeds 100,000 women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and 50,000 children under the age of five.
Since mid-2004, the Brazilian-led MINUSTAH has been keeping the peace in the impoverished Caribbean island nation.