Haiti Rescuers Find Life Amid Rubble 1 Week On

Haiti woman rescued. i

Ena Zizi, 69, is attended by Ahmed Bham of the South African Relief Team, after she was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo hide caption

itoggle caption Lynne Sladky/AP Photo
Haiti woman rescued.

Ena Zizi, 69, is attended by Ahmed Bham of the South African Relief Team, after she was rescued from the rubble of the collapsed Cathedral in Port-au-Prince, Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2010.

Lynne Sladky/AP Photo

While rescuers say the window is closing in terms of finding very many more survivors alive under the rubble in Haiti, seven days after the magnitude 7.0 earthquake, there is still cause for some hope.

For instance, an elderly woman was pulled from a collapsed building on Tuesday.

As Reuters reports:

Some 52 rescue teams from around the world raced against time to find people still alive under collapsed buildings. They have saved around 90 people, including an elderly woman pulled out on Tuesday from the rubble around the National Cathedral.

"I felt her grab my hand and squeeze. I felt as if God were squeezing my hand," said an emotional Javier Vazquez, the
rescue crew member from Mexico who reached her.

The Wall Street Journal explains some of the reasons why rescuers believe they are still finding people still alive a week after the earthquake.

"The search and rescue has been a fantastic success this time," said Sir John Holmes, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. "They've pulled out more people than is normally the case."

Search and rescue teams from around the world had saved dozens of people as of Tuesday. "Search and rescue operations continue," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Tuesday. "Ninety people have been saved by 43 international teams made up of 1,700 people. There are still lives to be saved."

That figure does not count those saved by ordinary Haitians digging with their shovels, sticks and their bare hands.

A key factor, Sir John said, is "the nature of some of the buildings: collapsed pre-pressed concrete slabs, which tend to leave gaps when it crashes down. It crushes some people horribly, but it can leave gaps for people to survive miraculously." He said other advantages are Haiti's mild weather, which helps trapped people survive, and the fact that rescue teams arrived very quickly.

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