RESCUERS have dragged a Haitian girl alive from the rubble 15 days after a devastating quake, in a rare moment of joy for a country where victims still face a desperate shortage of aid.
A French search team saved the 16-year-old today after neighbours heard a voice in the debris of a house in Port-au-Prince, ending what appeared to be the longest ordeal of any survivor so far following the January 12 disaster.
“She just said ‘thank you,’ she’s very weak, which suggests that she’s been there for 15 days,” Commander Samuel Bernes of the rescue team said.
“She was in a pocket surrounded by concrete. She was treated on the spot, she wasn’t able to get out alone.”
International rescue teams have saved around 135 people who were buried alive when the 7.0-magnitude quake laid waste to the capital and several other towns in the impoverished Caribbean nation.
The last was a 31-year-old man rescued by a US team on Tuesday, although he was thought to have been entombed by a powerful aftershock around two days after the initial tremor struck.
Haiti’s President Rene Preval said “nearly 170,000” bodies had now been counted since the quake, significantly higher than previous estimates of 150,000.
“In 15 days many efforts have been made. The National Equipment Company (NEC) has made great efforts in removing nearly 170,000 dead from the streets and clearing the roadways to facilitate traffic,” Preval told a press conference