Haiti: woman rescued from ruined cathedral

Mexican firefighters with Ena

Mexican firefighters with Ena

Seven days after the earthquake, rescuers yesterday pulled a 69-year-old woman alive from under the ruins of Notre Dame Cathedral in Port-au-Prince.

Ena Zizi was singing as she was lifted out by Mexican firefighters from under the rubble, Christian Aid reports.

Spokeswoman Sarah Wilson, who watched the rescue, said: "It was an amazing thing to witness. No-one could believe she was still alive.

"She was singing when she emerged. Everyone clapped and cheered."

Ena has a broken leg and hip, but is otherwise well. She said she was in the cathedral praying when the building collapsed. A priest nearby talked to her for some time but eventually his voice faded away.

Rescue crews believe two other people may be alive under rubble nearby, after receiving a text message. There were several severe aftershocks yesterday and today, causing concern and panic among people near damaged buildings still standing.

As time goes by, hope is fading that many more people will be found alive, but yesterday a ten-year-old boy and his eight-year-old sister were dug out by an American team. A 15 month-old baby was also found in the ruins of her family home.

Catholic bishops across Haiti are working together to support their parishioners, Bishop  Guire Poulard, bishop of Les Cayes, 196 km  southwest of Port-au-Prince, told Fides.

The funeral of Archbishop Serge Miot, who was killed in Port-au-Prince Cathedral, will be held in the capital on  23 January 23 Mgr Poulard said.

Fr Gabriel Naranjo Salazar, general secretary of the Latin-American Confederation of the Religious said that more than 100 priests and nuns are confirmed dead or are missing.

Aid from Caritas, mostly consisting of blankets, tents, water, food and hygienic goods is now arriving in Port-au-Prince. Medical services are already being set up and six mobile clinics are expected to arrive shortly.  However aid agencies say that smaller places hit by the quake have not received aid yet.  These include Gressier, Léogâne (90% destroyed), Petit Goâve and Grand Goâve.

In the port city of Jacmel, 90 km. south of the capital, a priest, Father Philip writes: “our pastoral centre has welcomed from the very start about 20 families left homeless, and at night many come to sleep here. They are still in shock. We need help”.

Source: MISNA/Fides/Christian Aid

Tags: Haiti

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