Fire has ravaged a historic market in the Haitian capital, leaving burned-out merchants fearing for their livelihoods in the impoverished nation.

The Iron Market had been rebuilt following the 2010 earthquake which devastated Port-au-Prince. 

The refurishment had been funded by a $12m donation by Irish businessman Denis O'Brien, who is chairman of phone company Digicel which operates in Haiti.

The blaze destroyed one of two halls at the 19th century Iron Market.

Dozens of vendors lost their inventories in the blaze.

With no insurance and, for most of the vendors, no bank account, the fire means the loss of their meagre fortunes in a country where only a quarter of the people have access to "improved" toilets to avoid contamination.

Witnesses told local media that when they called the nearest fire station, they were told the fire engines were too low on fuel to respond. Instead they had to wait for fire engines to come from much further away.

Residents said the fire began in a rubbish bag.

The market was previously damaged by fire in 2008 and then destroyed in Haiti's 2010 earthquake before being rebuilt under supervision of the Haitian agency in charge of protecting historic buildings.