EUROPEAN Union nations earmarked sums approaching ?500 million today, in emergency aid and reconstruction funds to help rebuild quake-ravaged Haiti.

At emergency talks in Brussels, EU development ministers decided that the European Commission and EU nations will donate ?122 million in emergency humanitarian aid, senior officials told reporters.

The EU's executive arm will also provide just over ?107 million in "rehabilitation" aid, and a further ?200 million in medium-to long-term reconstruction money, for a total of ?429 million.

"We recognise that more aid and support is needed, and more has been agreed," EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton told reporters after the talks.

"We are coordinating under the strategic umbrella of the United Nations, working closely with the United States and with others," she underscored.

International aid workers are struggling to cope with the scale of the disaster in the Caribbean island nation, where officials fear the final death toll could top 200,000.

A quarter of a million more were injured and 1.5 million left homeless in the wake of Tuesday's 7.0-magnitude quake.

"We've also begun to think about the needs in the medium- to long-term, in bringing together a conference to be able to express how we're going to be able to turn our desires into practical contributions," Ashton said.

Britain itself trebled its humanitarian aid to $30 million, International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander announced.

"It is now clear that the international community is dealing with an almost unprecedented level of devastation," he said in a statement.

"The impact of this earthquake is magnified because it has hit a country that was already desperately poor and historically volatile." France will release ?10 million in emergency funds in response to a UN appeal, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said in Paris.

According to an initial EU assessment, more than 4,000 physical structures were destroyed or damaged in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

But aid has been difficult to get into Haiti, given the number of planes and ships descending on the country to help, while people in need have no way of knowing where to go to find the food and water they so badly need.

On the ground, some 1,000 US troops were at work, with another 4,000 stationed on vessels offshore, while around 7,500 were due to arrive later today, the military said.

Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos said the UN had asked the EU for logistical support for ships laden with emergency supplies and helicopters to help unload aid, and that a request on security personnel was expected.

"We expressed our desire to be able to contribute to this request from the United Nations and that this could be done through the European gendarmerie. The request would, in principle, involve 140 to 150 personnel," he said.

"We want to act quickly, because there is an urgent need to provide security to help facilitate the arrival of international aid," he told reporters after the two and a half hour meeting.

Britain's development aid secretary Michael Foster, at the meeting, said his "understanding is that the US has some 10,000 troops on the ground in Haiti, and that should be more than enough," as a security mission.

Ashton, who travels to New York on Wednesday for meetings with US and UN officials, said there was no question of "swamping the system," stressing "the big logistical questions." "You can't just walk in and dump aid, you have to plan, to do it properly to make sure it reaches everyone," she said.

In a statement, the ministers also called for "in due course and after post emergency needs have been fully assessed, an international conference" to help kick-start the enormous process of rebuilding.