Haiti Rescue Efforts a Mix of Elation and Grief

Thousands of Marines poised to assist aid relief amid record-breaking rescues.

Jan. 18, 2010— -- Like so many of the quake rescues happening in Haiti, this one was a mix if elation and grief.

The race against the clock began when Port-au-Prince resident Jean Louis Paul Jr. was digging through the rubble of his home and he heard "tapping" from the remains of the building below.

Paul asked whoever was underneath to tap three times if they heard him. They did.

Soon, a search and rescue team from Miami-Dade was on site and said they heard the voice of 14-year-old Frangina, who said she was trapped and two boys were nearby.

The rescue team worked as quickly and as safely as they could.

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After six hours, 6-year-old Nazer Erne emerged in the arms of a rescuer looking gaunt and dusty. He smiled at the paramedics who attended to him, saying he felt no pain and only suffered a chipped tooth.

Hours later, Frangina was carried out. Instead of smiling, however, she was distraught that the 5-year-old boy who was alo buried in the rubble, Kevin Orialy Monjeune, did not survive.

The rescuers did not get to savor the rescue of Nazer and Frangina. Kevin's father and stepmother, Jean Harvelt Monjeune and Marjorie Boursiquot, live in Margate, Fla., and were initially elated because they had been told Kevin was alive. The rescue team's leader immediately got on the phone to give them the heartbreaking news.

In addition, Kevin's mother also died in the building's collapse. Her body was still in the rubble.

American search and rescue teams from Florida, New York, Virginia and California have pulled 35 people from the wreckage of Haiti's earthquake, including 10 on Sunday which the Haiti Joint Information Center said is "the largest number of rescues in a single day in decades of earthquake search."

"Everybody gets pretty amped up when they have a live person in there," USAID rescuer Joe Kaleda told "Good Morning Ameria" today. "We want to get them out of there as quick as we can."

Increasingly desperate Haitians were seeing more aide work its way in from the jammed airport, from trucks in the Dominican Republic and from ships offshore.

The numbers are staggering. Roughly 200,000 people may have been killed, the European Union said, quoting Haitian officials who also said about 70,000 bodies have been recovered so far. EU officials estimated that about 250,000 were injured and 1.5 million were homeless.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he wants to beef up the international peacekeeping force in Haiti with 1,500 additional police and 2,000 troops. The U.N. already has more than 9,000 soldiers and police in Haiti.

But officials also feared that sporadic looting could become more widespread if help does not soon reach the millions of Haitians who have gone without food, water, medical care and shelter for seven days.

Haitian riot police fired tear gas to disperse crowds of looters in the city's downtown as several nearby shops burned.

"We've been ordered not to shoot at people unless completely necessary," said Pierre Roger, a Haitian police officer who spoke as yet another crowd of looters ran by. "We're too little, and these people are too desperate."

The U.S. military is trying to break through the logjam. The 82nd Airborne, which has 950 soldiers in Haiti, has orders from the Pentagon to get 3,500 deployed to the island by today to help Haitians to support the police in keeping order. Thousands of Marines are poised offshore on Navy ships, and helicopters are ferrying supplies to the island and taking patients to medical facilities offshore.

Haiti Aid Still Stuck in Bottleneck

Despite the avalanche of supplies and emergency teams that have swarmed to Haiti, the inaibility to travel around the ruined roads and to communicate has made it difficult to get the aid to those who need it.

Tim Traynor told ABC News that he and a surgery/traumal team have set up a hospital facility ready to take care of 100 patients in Milot, 75 miles north of Port-au-Prince, but said he had received only four patients. He also said there is a helicopter landing zone adjacent to the facility.

"My surgeons are just sitting on their hands while people are dying," the frustrated Traynor said and appealed to the media to get word out to rescue officials that help was available.

A French official also sniped at the U.S. today after a French plane carrying a field hospital was turned away from the overcrowded airfield which is now being run by air traffic controllers from the U.S. Air Force. The plane was later allowed to land.

French Cooperation Minister Alain Joyandet said he wants the United Nations to clarify the U.S. role in Haiti's emergency.

"This is about helping Haiti, not about occupying Haiti," Joyandet said.

With Port-au-Prince's port destroyed and the airport clogged, a six-hour journey along a dusty road to the Dominican Republic is the only way some relief organizations can get their supplies to those in need. As they drive in, the relief workers pass Haitians heading the other direction, seeking refuge or medical attention in the Dominican Republic.

In the Dominican border town of Jimani, there was a stream of seriously injured Haitians are unloaded from vans and pickup trucks. There, the hospital with 32 beds, is caring for more than 200 patients.

At least 70,000 bodies have been recovered from the rubble, Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive told ABC News Sunday, but official and unofficial estimates of the final death toll have ranged up to 200,000.

In addition to bodies collected by the Haitian government, it is believed many were disposed of privately and thousands more remain uncollected.

The U.S. State Department said 18 Americans are known to be among the dead.

Aid continues to move slowly, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

"Significant amounts of emergency aid have arrived in quake-struck Port-au-Prince," the ICRC wrote in a statement Sunday. "The challenge now is to get it to survivors as quickly as possible. Further assessments confirm that the damage is widespread and immense. Very few neighborhoods have been spared, while local infrastructure and services have been wiped out."

Despite limited relief supplies flowing into the country, many Haitians still are living in the streets without access to food and water.

The smell of death hangs over Port-au-Prince.

Victims Pulled From Shattered Buildings

According to the U.N., 40 international search-and-rescue teams including nearly 1,800 rescue workers and more than 160 dogs are combing through the rubble looking for survivors.

Contrary to local grumbling, those rescued mostly have been Haitians, U.S. officials said. According to numbers from Sunday, only six or seven of 62 people rescued were Americans, with most of the others being Haitians, the officials reported.

The Miami-Dade firefighters also pulled a 3-year-old girl from a ruined house on Sunday.

Also over the weekend, a joint Urban Rescue Team of New York police and firefighters pulled two men and a teenage girl alive from the rubble of a Port-au-Prince grocery store housed in a three-story building that collapsed in Tuesday's earthquake, the NYPD said. The three survived on the grocery store's inventory of food and water.

The NYPD/FDNY team later rescued a man who was trapped in the rubble of a four-story building on Rue Belencourt in Port-au-Prince.

In addition, The Associated Press reported that Virginia firefighters pulled U.N. civil affairs officer Jens Christensen of Denmark from the rubble of the ruined U.N. building, other teams rescued a woman from a collapsed university building, and Montana Hotel co-owner Nadine Cardoso was saved from that wrecked building.

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