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Austrian charities appeal for Haiti help

By Lisa Chapman

Austrian charities have appealed for donations to help victims of the devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Media have reported that thousands may have been killed in the quake which struck yesterday (Tues) 10 miles west of Haitian capital Port-au-Prince.

There are reports that the quake, which measured 7.0 on the Richter Scale, had destroyed much of the city and that every second building there had collapsed.

Red Cross official Robert Schmidt said: "This catastrophe has occurred in a country the infrastructure of which is very bad. Building structures there are not comparable to those in Austria."

He added the Red Cross’s priority would be the setting up of field hospitals in Haiti and the dispatch of logistics experts to the country and that its water experts had been put on alert.

A worker at Austrian Catholic charity Caritas’s office in Port-au-Prince called conditions there "chaotic". "People will need our help," Caritas Austria official Sabine Wartha said.

An emergency team with the CARE charity is also preparing to help earthquake victims.

The Austrian foreign ministry has no information yet if any Austrians have been hurt in the earthquake or need help. Spokesman Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal said this morning that communications with Haiti were difficult, and Austria’s diplomatic representations in Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Mexico and the USA would attempt to obtain more information about the situation in Haiti.

All three Austrian charities are appealing to the public to make contributions for Haitian earthquake victims.

Donations can be made to:

CARE: PSK 1.236.000 (BLZ 60.000) – password: "Haiti";

Caritas: PSK 7.700 004, (BLZ 60.000) – password: "Erdbeben Haiti"; and

Austrian Red Cross (Österreichisches Rote Kreuz): PSK: 2.345.000 (BLZ 60.000) - password: "Erdbeben Haiti".

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