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Haiti: A survivor's story

22 Jan 2010

HelpAge's Caribbean Regional Representative, Jeff James, spoke to 75 year old Kenold Moreau about his experience of the Haiti earthquake. The image shows Kenold in the rubble of his collapsed home:

"12 January was like any other day for Kenold Moreau, 75. He collected his nine year old daughter, Marie Michele from school and she settled down to do her homework at 4:00 pm while he listened to the news on local radio.

"Within seconds the building crumbled"

At about 4:50 pm, he realised their entire building was shaking. As the tremor increased in intensity, he shouted to his daughter, "Go outside, Go outside quickly!". Within split seconds the building crumbled and Kenold was trapped inside. Luckily he was not hurt and he groped his way around to find some means of exiting the collapsed building, but only came upon broken bits of concrete.

Meanwhile, outside his daughter was crying as she saw the building collapse. She told a group of people her father was in the building and they search through the rubble to find Kenold to no avail.

After what seemed like an eternity, Kenold was able to worm his way through the rubble where he found an opening and was able to emerge from the mass of concrete and steel with only slight damage to his head and leg.

Kenold searched for his daughter for two days

He then went about looking for his daughter, but she was nowhere in sight. He was worried; did she manage to get outside on time? He was almost certain that she did, but he wasn't absolutely sure.

For two days he tried to locate his daughter; then on 14 January, the day of his 75th birthday, he made contact with a local radio station and provided information about his daughter and how he could be contacted, just in case someone had seen her. Luckily for him, Marie Michele was listening to the radio at the time and heard her father's voice.

Finally reunited

On Friday, 15 January, Kenold Moreau journeyed to Martissant 7 where his daughter had been staying with a woman who found her and took her in. Marie Michele was so happy to be reunited with her father. She was so traumatised that for three days she had refused to eat.

Kenold Moreau and his daughter are now making arrangements to leave for Canada where he and his daughter are Canadian citizens. He will be there for at least six months, by which time he would be in a position to contemplate his next move."

Read more about HelpAge's work in Haiti.

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Sarah Marzouk
Country: UK
Job title: Digital Communications

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.