The quake and the strong aftershocks have left almost unimaginable suffering and it is ill equipped, even at the best of times, to meet its basic needs. UNICEF and its partners are responding to the Haiti earthquake with the first shipment of supplies for affected families. Gerry Adams reports:
Adams: An eyewitness reports from Guido Cornali, UNICEF Representative in Haiti, in Jacmel, a city near Port au Prince, gives us an idea of the suffering people in Haiti continue to endure:
Cornali: It was one of the most powerful quakes I have ever had in my life. I experienced several. It was very violent, very brief, very noisy. This morning, I was witness to the extraction of rubble of two dead people, one little child and a mother and one survivor and another woman was actually pulled out of the rubble alive.
ADAMS: UNICEF has begun deploying supplies from Panama and will drive them into Haiti from a base in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, says Bernt Aasen, UNICEF Regional Director for the Americas and the Caribbean:
Aasen: It had a center here just about 17 km from Por au Prince and the destruction in the city is unbelievable. We don't have any indication yet of the number people that have been killed or injured but we are talking about thousands. This is a big disaster for Haiti.
Adams: One of the poorest countries on earth, Haiti's infrastructure was close to collapse even before the 7.0 earthquake struck near Port au Prince, says Mr. Aasen:
Aasen: The most important supplies we are sending in now are family kits and family kits have cooking equipment and everything that families need that have basically lost everything. And then we will need to send in medical supplies and UNICEF has standard medical kits that have all the medicines we know are needed in these situations.
Adams: According to UNICEF Executive DIRECTOR Ann Veneman, UNICEF's priority is to make sure Haiti's children get vital help as soon as possible. This is Gerry Adams for United Nations Radio.