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Haitian President: Devastation Caused by Quake 'Unimaginable'

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The devastation from the massive earthquake that struck Haiti was "unimaginable," said Haitian President Rene Preval on Wednesday.

"The city is destroyed. Parliament has collapsed. The tax office, schools and hospitals have collapsed," said Preval, who went to the streets Wednesday morning to see the damage caused by the quake.

The president said he had received reports of death tolls ranging from 30,000 to 100,000, but it was still too early to know the exact number, according to reports reaching here from Port-au-Prince, Haiti's capital.

Preval said the priority now was to clean up the streets, which were full of corpses and rubble.

The president also appealed to the international community for more assistance, saying his country was in urgent needs of rescue workers, food and medicines.

A magnitude-7.3 quake -- the strongest ever recorded on the Caribbean island -- rocked Haiti on Tuesday.

The quake crushed thousands of buildings, including the presidential palace and the UN peacekeeping headquarters, trapping large numbers of people under the rubble of the capital city.

The earthquake struck at about 4:53 PM local time (2153 GMT) ,which was centered 15 km southwest of the capital city at a depth of 10 km, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.

(Xinhua News Agency January 14, 2010)