Saturday, 16 January 2010

Haiti Earthquake

I'm sure you've all seen the heartbreaking news items from Haiti over the last few days.  It so often seems to be the people who have the least suffer the most from these natural disasters.  It seems a hell on earth there, and it is taking aid so long to get there because of the devastation and poor infrastructure.  But amidst all the death and despair were two stories of amazing survIval.

Rescue attempts were still going on last night with British firefighters emerging as heroes.  They hauled two-year-old Mia Charlotte from the collapsed Beatrice kindergarten in Port- au-Prince. The firemen were among a 64-strong British team who raced to the country.

Pete Stevenson, operations commander, said: "We are over the moon. Mia is beautiful and the rescue was a huge success."  Mia was later reunited with her grateful mother.

Another little girl rescued:

Little Winnie Tilin - just 16 months old - was pulled alive from the rubble of her family's home after 68 hours.  Her faint moans were heard by chance by an  Australian TV crew filming the devastation outside the Save the Children charity's office.. Tragically, among those dead  are Winnie's parents, crushed to death by the falling masonry which amazingly missed her.

The TV team's interpreter Deiby Celestino heard her faint cries and jumped into the concrete hole she was trapped in.  After crawling over dead bodies to get to her, he was able to pull her out. Mr Celestino, from neighbouring Dominican Republic, said: "It's very emotional. It felt like my own baby I was pulling out there."

A Save The Children doctor who examined the toddler was amazed to find that, though she was severely dehydrated, she was not seriously injured. The toddler was then passed to her uncle, Frantz Tilin, who was looking for her after losing his pregnant wife in the disaster.

In these situations there's not a lot the ordinary person can do but donate whatever they can towards the appeal, every penny counts.  Those in the UK can donate here .

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