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Page last updated at 10:59 GMT, Thursday, 18 March 2010

Haiti 'orphans' returned to parents

One of the 33 Haitian children found with an Idaho-based group near Port-au-Prince on 31 January 2010
The 33 children were found with the US missionaries on a bus on the border

Aid workers in Haiti have sent home all but one of the 33 children that US missionaries tried to take out of the country after the January earthquake.

They said all the children had parents to return to. Each family was given food, blankets and $260 (£170) as they came to collect their children.

Some of the parents said they had handed them over because they thought they would get better care in US hands.

One of the missionaries remains in jail while the other nine were freed.

One child is still waiting at the SOS Orphanage on Port-au-Prince's outskirts for further verification of her parents' identities.

Family reunions

The missionaries, who were arrested on 29 January while trying to leave Haiti after the devastating earthquake with the children, denied any wrongdoing, saying they only wanted to help destitute orphans.

Their leader, Laura Silsby, remains in custody.

The earthquake in Haiti on 12 January killed more than 220,000 people and left more than a million homeless.

Florence Avrilier was reunited with her eight-year-old son she had given away. She kept her 12-year-old daughter because the missionaries told her they only wanted children younger than 10, she is quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.

"I'm very happy. I had no hope I would ever get my son back again. This has been a very heartbreaking time for me," she said.



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