Rescued After Three Days In Wreckage
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
In Haiti, despite aid efforts from around the world, urgent needs are still being met piecemeal. Makeshift medical clinics, most of them outdoors, are struggling to cope with the injured often with few or no medical supplies, and people trapped under rubble are being rescued by their neighbors.
NPR's Greg Allen was at a hospital in the capital, Port-au-Prince, today. He met a young woman there who was pulled from the wreckage of her home three days after the quake.
GREG ALLEN: It's a chaotic scene at the general hospital in Port-au-Prince. Patients who were being treated when the earthquake hit now line the streets and fill the park across from the hospital. They've been joined by people injured in the earthquake; many with terrible injuries are lying on the ground on blankets.
Mr. DENNIS BONNIE: (unintelligible). Be careful. Watch out.
ALLEN: Into that desperate scene today, several men came carrying a young woman partially clothed and covered in dust. They lay her down gently on a wooden pallet under a tree. Dennis Bonnie(ph) said she'd just been pulled from underneath her home's rubble.
Mr. BONNIE: They found her in the (unintelligible). They heard a voice. She cry, help, help, help, and they find her.
ALLEN: Her name is Roberta Joashim(ph). She works at Haiti's National Library and appears to be in remarkably good shape. She's weak and dazed, probably dehydrated after three and a half days trapped in her home's wreckage. She says her hand hurts and her back, but she's able to sit up and talk a little.
Ms. ROBERTA JOASHIM (Employee, Haiti National Library): (Foreign language spoken)
Mr. BONNIE: She was on the bed when the thing happened, but she doesn't understand what happened, really. And then when thinking - she was just begging - to call Jesus, Jesus, and the house collapsed.
(Foreign language spoken)
Ms. JOASHIM: (Foreign language spoken)
ALLEN: Bonnie had just arrived in the park as Joashim was brought in, but immediately pulls out a rare commodity in Port-au-Prince these days: a working cell phone.
You're calling her family?
Mr. BONNIE: Yeah. She want to say to the family she's alive.
ALLEN: Bonnie says she told him her family lives in Gonaives, a town far from Port-au-Prince and largely unaffected by the earthquake. She asks Bonnie to call her closest contact in Port-au-Prince, the pastor of her church. It's a call that's ultimately unsuccessful.
Mr. BONNIE: Yeah, but I tried to contact one of them. You see, I make a call for her, but the people she told me to call died. It's another people to take the phone. He said the pastor has died.
ALLEN: Until a few minutes ago, Dennis Bonnie, Roberta Joashim and the people who helped pull her from the rubble were all strangers. But although it's a nation of nine million people, Haiti is something like a small town where friendships and family connections matter, and where especially now nearly everyone feels a close kinship.
Bonnie stays on the phone, calling friends from Gonaives, asking them to spread the word to her family that Roberta Joashim, a young woman from the provinces, is alive.
Greg Allen, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.
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