The World Evangelical Alliance is calling on Christians to pray for Haiti as aid agencies race to bring food, clean water and medical care to the thousands of survivors of Tuesday’s earthquake.

International Director, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, said: “Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti as they face the impact of this huge disaster. We are calling upon our entire WEA family to pray for the people of Haiti as they come to grips with the magnitude of this situation. We know there has been a huge loss of life as well as property.”

It is feared 100,000 people may have died in the 7.0 magnitude quake. They include the Catholic Archbishop of Port-au-Prince Joseph Serge Miot.

With little in the way of emergency services, many people are still trapped under the collapsed buildings. The US is sending 2,000 Marines to help in the rescue effort, while the UK has reportedly sent in 71 rescue specialists with sniffer dogs and heavy equipment.

Several Christian aid agencies have dispatched funds and are distributing aid in the disaster zones, including Christian Aid, World Vision, Tearfund and World Emergency Relief. The Methodist Church has launched an emergency appeal.

Tearfund’s Chief Executive Matthew Frost said communications had been severely disrupted, making logistics “extremely difficult” for emergency and relief agencies. Much of the infrastructure has been badly damaged, while many hospitals in capital Port-au-Prince were destroyed or badly damaged in the quake, and are struggling to cope with the stream of injured with scant supplies of electricity, water and medicine.

Dr Tunnicliffe continued: “Please pray for the Christians and local churches as they will be on the forefront of responding to the spiritual, emotional and physical needs of hundreds of thousands of people. We would also ask that you would give generously and support the WEA members who are actively involved in responding to crisis.”

Bishop Gerald A Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean, said Christians had a responsibility to respond to the crisis in Haiti.

“The social and material gains made in the past two to three years have been totally wiped out by this earthquake,” he said. “As Christian NGOs gear up for a major response in the next few days we need to give sacrificially and pray.”

In addition to the injured and those who have lost loved ones, Bishop Seale requested prayer for rescuers whom he said may suffer from depression and exhaustion as they retrieve the dead.

He added: “Pray for the Government of Haïti as they seek to respond in conditions that are unprecedented for them. Pray for the pastors and leaders as they minister in these extreme conditions.”