I got word that my friend is OK! He was taken to an American ship with some other Peace Corps personnel and then flown out to Florida.
I also have word of another friend's mother-- she is a trauma nurse. She was born and raised in Haiti and has lived in the USA for many years. She has been a red cross volunteer for a long time and was on holiday on another island in the carribean this past week when she got a call from the red cross asking if she would be interested in deploying to Haiti. She told them she was already in the region on holiday (she lives in NYC) and they said, "Fine, we will have a ship pick you up!!" So apparently a US ship picked her up (!!!) and she has her boots on the ground now. Her daughter (my friend) just called and told me all this today... she said she thinks her Mom is CRAZY... but her Mom wants to help there, so I take my hat off to her for that.
Another friend's son who is active duty coast guard just emailed home and told the family they are heading to a "disaster zone" from the Panama Canal...
Excellent new, Spaceneedle -- what a relief. I read somewhere that volunteers who spoke Creole were being sought to staff hotline phones for information on Haiti. Sounds like your friend's mother may have that extra useful ability to help.
Last weekend I was going through papers,trying to decide which I should throw away,save etc. I came across the letter from FEMA with the official stamp etc. and a lovely note from Brownie expressing his sorrow over the calamity here in NOLA. I was gong to toss but, figured I could maybe sell it on e-bay and donate the money to the Haitian relief effort. This weekend at the Superdome there is a major sports event and I received an e-mail that there will be representatives from the Red Cross and some other relief organizations collecting donations for the earthquake victims. A brilliant idea as thousands will be there,and after several beers and whatnot,hopefully will be feeling generous.
Spaceneedle,just saw your post.(generally, I do read the previous posts,sorry.) Very good news indeed,thank you for letting us know!
Post by existentialcrisis on Jan 19, 2010 7:39:33 GMT
spaceneedle, i'm glad to hear your friend is ok!
I read today about a university of 1000, and that only 8 people have been accounted for. I had about 1000 people in my high school, and I'm trying to imagine what it would be like for suddenly everyone to be dead besides 8 people!!
Has everyone seen this rescue story? It's heartening, but ends on a sober note.
Rescuers pull Haitian man from deep under rubble Ben Fox And Jessica Desvarieux, Associated Press Writers Sat Jan 23, 6:57 pm ET
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – An international team of rescuers unearthed a shop clerk in good condition from deep beneath the concrete and wooden wreckage of a hotel grocery store Saturday, 11 days after an earthquake crumbled Haiti's capital.
Dozens of onlookers wearing masks against the stench of the city's decaying bodies cheered when Wismond Exantus, clad in a black T-shirt and black pants, was carried from a narrow tunnel on a stretcher and placed in an ambulance. He braced one arm with the other.
"I was hungry," Exantus told The Associated Press from his hospital bed soon after the rescue. "But every night I thought about the revelation that I would survive."
Exantus, who is in his 20s, said he survived initially by diving under a desk when the rubble started to fall around him. Trapped in such a small space, he had lie on his back the entire time and survived by drinking cola, beer and cookies.
"I would eat anything I found," he said. "After the quake I didn't know when it was day and when it was night."
"It was God who was tucking me away in his arms. It gave me strength," he added.
One of the man's brothers, Jean Elit Jean Pierre, said Exantus worked as a cashier in the grocery store on the ground floor of the Hotel Napoli. The brothers persuaded rescuers to save Exantus, who has a different name because he had it changed.
From his hospital bed, Exantus turned to his family and said, "When you are in a hole I will try to reach out to you, too."
Earlier Saturday, the United Nations announced the Haitian government had declared an end to rescue operations. Still, dozens of international teams continued to pick through rubble of the Jan. 12 quake.
Saturday's rescue effort started when one of the man's brothers helped get a Greek search team to the site after hearing Exantus' voice, said Apostolos Dedas, a mission leader for the Greek team.
"It is very emotional. It is the best thing that can happen to you when you are a rescuer," Dedas said.
Lt. Col. Christophe Renou, a French Civil Protection official who was part of the rescue team, said rescuers used chain saws, heavy duty drills and hand saws to dig a narrow tunnel to the man and got him water while working to extract him. Renou said the man was buried under 16 1/2 to 20 feet (5 to 6 meters) of debris, mostly wood and concrete.
The rescue teams said they sent two women into the tunnel because only they could fit.
Carmen Michalska, a Scottish woman who is a member of the Greek team, found Exantus wedged between shelving and debris, and a French female rescuer used a saw to cut away the last bit of debris. When Exantus emerged, "He was smiling and he was just really happy to get out," Michalska said. "He said, 'Thank you.'"
Renou speculated the man survived because the building was mostly wooden, which created some air spaces. He said he was not sure if anyone else was trapped in the collapsed store and the team was using radar to check the rubble for signs of life.
"What happened in that spot there is a miracle," Renou said. "We are really happy he is alive."
Exantus said he thought other people might have been trapped when the building collapsed. "There were times I heard rustling," he said.
Rescues have become increasingly rare since the magnitude-7.0 quake leveled the city, killing an estimated 200,000 people. Before the latest rescue, U.N. spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs said 132 people had been pulled alive from collapsed buildings.
Experts say the chance of saving trapped people begins diminishing after 72 hours.
Associated Press Writer Mike Melia contributed to this report.
This article is yet another look at the long-term implications of the tragedy for Haiti. Also, it's sobering to think how these natural disasters can wreak extra havoc depending on the time of day they strike. In the case of Haiti, the earthquake struck just before 5 p.m., meaning most offices were still full of workers.
Jon Lee Anderson published this illuminating, upsetting dispatch from Haiti. It's rather long, so if you're interested you may want to find the magazine or print out the article. I just finished reading it in the Feb.8 issue of the New Yorker:
On the morning of Monday, January 18th, I set out with Frantz Ewald, a Haitian-born painter, to drive into Port-au-Prince ... It had been six days since the earthquake struck, and the city was still in chaos. ... we had not gone far when we braked to allow a group of teen-agers to cross the street in front of us. They were being led by a tall young woman in a white tunic and a long black skirt. They trailed behind her as if she were some kind of Pied Piper. ... Four or five hours later, in the flatlands at the edge of the Port-au-Prince airport, we saw the young woman and her followers again. She was standing amid a scrum of onlookers outside the gates of the airport, where U.N. and American planes were landing on the airstrip beyond the little terminal building. We stopped and hailed her ... She said that her name was Nadia François and she was from Delmas 75—a neighborhood five miles back up into the hills. She had come down, she said, in representation of some three hundred people there who were in need of help. ... Nadia had led her group down to the airport after hearing that the U.S. military was handing out food.