Ontario aid worker rescued from rubble in Haiti
Published Thursday, January 14, 2010 8:47PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 12:43AM EDT
An Ontario aid worker is safe after spending nearly 24 hours under the rubble of a collapsed house in earthquake-stricken Haiti.
However, "she's doing great. I've had nothing but good news since a brief telephone conversation yesterday where she was able to confirm for me that she was fine," Monique Trepanier, sister of Danielle Trepanier, told CTV News Channel on Thursday from Vancouver.
Danielle, a 35-year-old resident of Stoney Point, was resting in her bedroom on the second floor because she wasn't feeling well, according to the charitable organization Doctors Without Borders or Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF).
When the earthquake struck, the house collapsed, taking Trepanier down with it.
"Tr�panier fell through two floors and landed in a small space in the basement, under a mass of debris," MSF said in a news release.
Her cries for help throughout the night let rescuers know she was okay.
"When they pulled her out she was bewildered, in shock, with some relatively minor scrapes," the news release said. "She has been in contact with her family and is now recovering from the shock of her ordeal."
Two other members of the organization were also in the house on the ground floor when the 7.0 tremor struck the capital city of Port-au-Prince. The managed to escape just as the house crumbled.
Monique said she first got a "joyful" phone call from an MSF official in Toronto to tell her that her sister was alive and in really good condition.
That was a big turnaround from the first MSF call, which said Danielle might not have survived the home's collapse. "We ran the gamut of the roller coaster of emotions," Monique said.
There was good support from federal officials, including a call from Defence Minister Peter MacKay. "In the end, it was her colleagues who risked their lives to tunnel through and pull her out," she said.
When the good news of the rescue came and Monique was able to speak to Danielle, "there were tears and a lot of sobbing from me, and she was herself. It was almost like we were speaking on a Sunday," she said, adding it was a very brief call, about 20 seconds.
Danielle, who has been in working in Haiti as a logistics administrator with MSF since July 2009, is expected to arrive in Toronto at some point Thursday.
Meanwhile, a Halton region family is staying put on their compound just outside the capital.
Grant Rumford, a paramedic, moved to Haiti in September with his wife Sandy and their children for a missionary project.
He told CTV's Canada AM on Thursday that his family felt the earthquake, even though they are living and working at a small medical clinic located about 45 minutes outside of Port-au-Prince.
He said the clinic has been overwhelmed with patients and that they are quickly running out of supplies.
"Our mission is in the process of trying to set up some replenishment but we're working with what we have," he said. "We're very fortunate to have a team here from Ontario at this very difficult time."
His wife Sandy told CTV News that there has been a constant, steady stream of patients since the quake struck and that there were many who just "couldn't be helped."
So far, there is one Ontarian that has been confirmed dead as a result of the Haiti disaster.
Yvonne Martin 67, from Elmira, Ont. was confirmed killed on Wednesday. She was among a group of seven nurses who arrived in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince around 4:30 Tuesday afternoon - about 90 minutes before the earthquake struck.
There are an estimated 6,000 Canadians in Haiti, according to government estimates.
The Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince has been sheltering roughly 100 of those and assisting another 48 since the quake struck, according to a statement from Ottawa.
Staff at the embassy have been providing food, water, shelter and blankets to those who have sought refuge at the compound.
Canada will also begin evacuating Canadians from Haiti on Thursday aboard a C-130 Hercules military aircraft. The first group of over 100 evacuees was expected to arrive at Montreal's Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, reports CTV's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife.
Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, who is heading to Montreal to meet with that city's large Haitian community, had been expected to meet the evacuees at the airport.