Los Angeles pledges help for quake-stricken Haiti

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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Los Angeles County and an international aid group based in the area pledged assistance to Haiti after the poor Caribbean country was struck by a major earthquake earlier Tuesday.

The Los Angeles Fire Department planned to send about 60 firefighters to conduct search and rescue mission in Haiti where a powerful quake, measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale, struck an area about 10 miles (15 km) west of the capital of Port-au-Prince.

The team will be deployed to aid local and foreign rescue operations. Thousands of people are feared dead during the onslaught of the major earthquake, a local Catholic Relief group member was quoted as saying.

Operation USA, a Los Angeles-based international aid organization said it will send emergency medical aid to Haiti. It is appealing for donations of funds from the public and corporations in bulk of health care materials, water purification supplies and food supplements.

It was the largest quake recorded in the area and the first major one since a magnitude-6.7 temblor in 1984, according to American seismologists.

Initial reports said a local hospital was damaged and a number of houses were also collapsed during the quake.

Editor: Anne Tang