The World Travel Guide says Haiti, with its mountainous scenery and tropical climate, has "the basic ingredients of a holiday destination". Aside from the abject poverty, instability and violence, which make it the poorest and one of the most volatile nations in the Americas.

And that was before the earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, which shook the archipelago to its rickety core yesterday. Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive fears as many as 100,000 people may be dead, as rescuers from around the world begin to pick through the rubble. A failed state flattened once more.