Mexico to send more humanitarian aid to Haiti

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MEXICO CITY, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Mexican President Felipe Calderon said the nation will send 15 to 20 tons of aid a day to Haiti, following Tuesday's earthquake which registered 7 on the Richter scale and killed thousands.

He told broadcasters that the government would send hundreds of doctors, rescue workers, engineers and civil protection staff, while the Mexican Red Cross would send food and supplies aboard the same aircraft.

The Red Cross has contributed 45,000 tons of aid following a call to help Haiti, where as many as 50,000 people may have died, the vice president of the Mexican Red Cross told broadcasters on Thursday.

He said that the organization had set up 486 centers for receiving aid across Mexico's 32 states and that the state-run Family Integration Directorate was also receiving donations in central state Hidalgo.

Separately on Thursday, Magdy Martinez-Soliman, the head of the United Nations' Development Program in Mexico told broadcasters that Mexico had made "exemplary efforts" to help.

"There has been extraordinary coordination by Mexican officials," he said. "We believe that rescue efforts could have been no better even if it had taken place in Mexico," he said.

Mexico City suffered a massive deadly earthquake in September 1985 that killed at least 10,000 people. Some Mexican rescue crews founded in response to that quake, including the Topos (Moles) that send staff to Haiti, are still operating today.

Earlier on Thursday, Red Cross officials said that an aircraft with one ton of Red Cross aid, and one ton contributed by the Mexican police, had left a military air base for Port-au-Prince, Haitian capital.

He called for Mexicans to donate tinned food, bottled water and medicines, as being the most important. He also called for plates, drinking vessels, toilet paper, sanitary towels, pasta and toothbrushes.

Separately, Mexico's Foreign Ministry said that it had located 40 of the 80 Mexicans known to reside in Port-au-Prince, and issued a statement urging the remaining 40 to contact their relatives or the authorities as soon as possible.

Haiti suffered a massive earthquake, which struck on shore, just 25 kilometers from Port-au-Prince. The Caribbean nation's President Rene Preval estimated that as many as 50,000 people may have died in the quake.