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World gears up to help quake-hit Haiti

World governments and aid agencies readied emergency rescue teams and supplies for Haiti on Wednesday in a massive relief effort mobilised after 7.0 earthquake that may have killed thousands.

world Updated: Jan 13, 2010 23:54 IST

World governments and aid agencies readied emergency rescue teams and supplies for Haiti on Wednesday in a massive relief effort mobilised after 7.0 earthquake that may have killed thousands.

The European Union activated its crisis management system and the Red Cross and United Nations unlocked emergency funds and supplies as the destitute Caribbean nation battled to assess the scale of the death the destruction.

Regional countries were among the first to offer help with Venezuela to send in a 50-member team with food and medical supplies and the Dominican Republic readying a plane to pick up victims and sniffer dogs to search rubble.

The United States stood “ready to assist”, said President Barack Obama, who later announced “an aggressive, coordinated effort” from his government.

A host of European nations also prepared plane-loads of medical and rescue staff as the European Union said its had activated all “crisis and aid management mechanisms”.

In Britain, a four-member government assessment team was despatched while a 64-strong group of rescuers with sniffer dogs and equipment assembled at London’s Gatwick airport, as Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he was “ready to provide whatever humanitarian assistance is required”. France said it was sending in two planes with rescuers and hospital staff.