Page last updated at 01:18 GMT, Saturday, 23 January 2010

Haitian woman, aged 84, found alive in quake rubble


Dr. Ernest Benjamin says the woman is "critically ill"

An 84-year-old woman has been rescued after spending 10 days under rubble following the Haiti quake.

Doctors say the woman has multiple wounds and her condition is grave, but are doing all they can to save her.

And an Israeli search team reported that it had pulled a 22-year-old man alive from the rubble. He is said to be in a stable condition.

The rescues came as the official government death toll from the earthquake rose to 110,000.

UN spokeswoman Elizabeth Byrs said some rescue teams were leaving, as they were exhausted and there was now little hope of finding more people alive under the rubble.

Those that remained were "concentrating more and more on humanitarian aid for those who need it", she said.

A benefit concert featuring more than 100 music and Hollywood stars has been broadcast around the world to raise money for the victims of the earthquake.

Security fears

In Port-au-Prince, life is slowly returning to normal, with shops opening and buses running - although many residents are continuing to leave the devastated capital.

Christian Fraser
Christian Fraser, BBC News, Jacmel
Jacmel, a former colonial coffee town, is desperate for help. Perhaps one in three buildings in the old town now lies in ruins - more than 100 years of history, shattered in a few catastrophic seconds.

At the Saint Michele hospital the patients are lying in the garden, baking in the heat, without enough doctors to help. The hospital buildings are too unstable to use.

In the operating theatre, nurses swat flies as the surgeons do what they can. Outside, the injured scream for painkillers.

On Thursday, the government announced plans to send 400,000 people to tented cities in the countryside, to try to halt the spread of disease in the makeshift settlements that have sprung up in the capital.

Construction for the temporary centres has already started, the Associated Press news agency says, but it is unclear when they will be populated.

Aid officials say about 200,000 people have already left the city, many to stay with relatives in other parts of the country.

The 84-year-old woman survivor, rescued on Friday after 10 days in the rubble, is being treated by doctors at the main city hospital with intravenous fluids and drugs.

"I'm trying to find out how I can help her survive," Dr Ernest Benjamin told AFP news agency.

"It's worth everything to try to save her."

Her son told the agency he had heard her cries on Thursday morning and, almost a day later, he dug her out with the help of friends.

Some 122 people have been saved by international search and rescue teams, according to the US government.

At least 75,000 bodies have so far been buried in mass graves, Haiti's government has said. Many more remain uncollected in the streets.

An estimated 1.5 million people were left homeless by the 7.0-magnitude quake, which some have estimated has killed as many as 200,000 people.

Robbing and looting

Security fears remain in the capital, with local police chief Insp Aristide Rosemont appealing for help to tackle criminals who escaped when the earthquake wrecked the main jail.

International efforts to get aid to Haitians continue

He told the BBC a large number of gangs had begun robbing and looting in the Cite Soleil slum area since the prison escape.

But despite problems in Cite Soleil, UN officials say the capital is largely calm, with only sporadic violence.

About 5,000 prisoners broke out of the capital's main jail after the walls collapsed, some of them hardened offenders belonging to violent criminal gangs.

Haitians need to be there to help rebuild their country, this is not an opportunity for migration

Janet Napolitano
US Homeland Security Secretary

Some Haitians have tried to flee abroad, but US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano warned Haitians not to use the earthquake as an excuse to try to enter the US illegally.

She said anyone caught trying to do so would be repatriated.

"Haitians need to be there to help rebuild their country, this is not an opportunity for migration," she said.

Meanwhile, efforts to rebuild Haiti's main seaport - seen as vital to the international aid effort - are being stepped up.

The US and the UN World Food Programme insist the distribution of food and water is well under way, but BBC correspondents in Port-au-Prince say many people have still seen no international aid at all.


At least 500,000 people are currently living outdoors in 447 improvised camps in Port-au-Prince, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), with limited shelter and access to water.

Western countries were hoping to boost donations for the aid effort with a multi-network telethon.

Hope for Haiti Now, broadcast from New York, London, Los Angeles and Haiti, featured Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Beyonce and other major artists.

The concert was shown on all major US TV channels, MTV in the UK and worldwide on YouTube.

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Houston Chronicle Haiti government calls off search and rescue effort - 5 hrs ago
The Scotsman Haiti calls halt to search for survivors - 15 hrs ago
Jerusalem Post Haiti declares search-and-rescue phase over - 21 hrs ago
Irish Times Search for Haiti survivors halted - 22 hrs ago Haiti Government Calls off Search and Rescue - 22 hrs ago

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