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Haiti: Red Cross helps to rescue Darlene

28-01-2010 Feature

Twenty-five-year-old Jude Celoge is head of the Haitian Red Cross team in Martissant. Along with other volunteers, he was one of the first rescue workers on the scene when Darlene Etienne was found alive after 15 days buried under the rubble.

 

©Reuters 
 
27.01.2010. Darlene being lifted into a Haitian Red Cross ambulance. 
   

“Around 3 p.m. on Wednesday, I was working at the first-aid post when I received a call from the team leader, who was in Place Jeremy in Martissant. He told me: " Jude, you need to get over to Carrefour Feuille right away. There’s a 16-year-old girl in the wreckage who's still alive. " I was there in five minutes.

Local residents were there with hammers, saws, chisels and shovels. A Red Cross rescue worker had crawled in through a hole in the rubble and talked to the girl, who was called Darlene Etienne. She had been in the shower when the earthquake struck. Darlene immediately gave us a number to call her family. So I called and a girl answered. She confirmed that Darlene had been in the shower and she said that she was her cousin. She had thought that Darlene must be dead.

 People cheered and called out “Long live the Red Cross!"  

I got in contact with the ICRC right away. My colleagues had been inside the hole, we could see her hand. We removed the concrete blocks and cordoned off the area, to protect it from passers-by. Several journalists turned up. Then the French rescue team arrived, and finally they brought Darlene out alive. She was naked, so we covered her up and we gave her oxygen. Then she was evacuated in one of our ambulances.

My team and I did our job and people helped us. The local residents trust us, which is why they contacted us first. When Darlene was taken into the ambulance, people cheered and called out “Long live the Red Cross! "

When I saw her come out of that hole alive and conscious, I told myself it was a miracle, that God had protected her. It was more than a miracle, it was wonderful. As she was put in the ambulance, I wondered if I was dreaming. "