Schwarzenegger pledges California to assist quake-hit Haiti

10:07, January 14, 2010      

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Wednesday that the state will do what it can to help Haiti recover from the devastating earthquake.

California's specially-trained Urban Search and Rescue Team, California Task Force 2, has been dispatched to aid the victims, said the governor.

California stands ready to provide additional help coordinated through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Department of Homeland Security, he said.

"I have directed my Emergency Management Agency to continue to work closely with our federal agency partners to ensure California stands ready to immediately offer any additional assistance needed to help Haiti recover from this devastating earthquake," said Schwarzenegger.

"Maria (his wife) and I send our thoughts and prayers to the people of Haiti as they continue to respond to this tragedy, and on behalf of all Californians, we send our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims."

California Task Force 2 is a specially-trained and equipped 70-person Urban Search and Rescue Task Force consisting of Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighters and paramedics rescue specialists, emergency room physicians, structural engineers, heavy equipment specialists, canine search dogs and handlers, hazardous materials technicians, communications specialists, and logistics specialists.

This unique technical rescue team responds with 55,000 pounds of prepackaged search and rescue tools and medical equipment to conduct around-the-clock search and rescue operations at domestic and international disasters, both natural and man-made.

The earthquake struck at 12:53 p.m. Pacific Time about 16 kilometers southwest of the capital of Port-au-Prince, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Thousands of people were feared killed and countless buildings collapsed in the densely populated capital city.

But authorities were unable to assess the total casualties and damage due to the post-quake chaos.

Source: Xinhua
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