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UNESCO Chief Pledges Support for Quake-hit Haiti

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The Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)expressed Wednesday her deep concern over the devastation caused by the powerful 7.0-magnitude quake that hit Haiti and pledged support for victims in the disaster.

The disaster near Haitian capital of the Port-au-Prince was "deeply distressing" and "our organization will do everything possible within the areas of expertise to help the population through this terrible ordeal," Irina Bokova said in a statement.

A UNESCO team based in Port-au-Prince is working with the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti.

However, the organization can't regain contact with the 14 staff members on the devastated land till press time, the statement concluded.

A catastrophic earthquake hit the crowded Haitian capital on Tuesday afternoon local time, leaving the cathedral, hospitals, schools, residential buildings collapsed. The president's palace and several foreign organizations' headquarters were also flattened in the quake.

Head of the UN peacekeeping mission Hedi Annabi was missing. Haitian authorities reportedly estimated thousands of people were feared dead in the disaster.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2010)