Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Texts, victims emerge from rubble after Haiti quake

By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
Regine Madhere reportedly has been texting from beneath a collapsed market in Port-au-Prince.
Regine Madhere reportedly has been texting from beneath a collapsed market in Port-au-Prince.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Jacques Bazin says two children died under a collapsed house after a Friday aftershock
  • Bazin was under the rubble three days before he was saved; he's now helping others
  • Text messages to Germany, New York speak to dearth of rescuers, resources in Haiti
  • Regine Madhere's aunt, uncle at market, hoping rescuers will soon pull her from debris

(CNN) -- Jacques Bazin didn't have time to catch his breath after being pulled from the rubble of a three-bedroom home on the outskirts of the Haitian capital.

Though he'd been trapped in the house for three days, he marshaled the strength to begin helping the Haitians who had just rescued him search for other survivors.

He spoke to CNN on Friday, two hours after being rescued, and again Saturday as he worked to free 10 children still encased in the toppled residence.

"Next time you call, God willing, they might be out. Otherwise, they will die," he said. "Their voices are really low because for four days, they eat nothing. I drill holes on top of the cement and put bread inside so they can eat. What we do, we have to do fast."

Friday evening made his mission more urgent as two children were killed when an aftershock -- one of four that day, all 4.6 magnitude or higher -- disrupted the concrete slabs imprisoning them, he said.

A New York-based philanthropist, Bazin, 54, has been in Haiti since December 13. His nonprofit organization, JB Humanitarian, builds schools for the poor in Haiti.

Six staff members of one of his schools, in Ocadet, died when the 7.0-magnitude quake struck Tuesday, causing the school to collapse on top of them.

Bazin was on the porch of a nearby home taking pictures of the mountains. Twenty-four children were inside the home, he said.

Video: Haiti successful rescue

"The next thing I know, this thing is splitting in half -- the mountain split in half," he said. "The house where I was went down."

He and 12 of the children had been freed as of Saturday morning, but the remaining children were in the back of the house when the earthquake hit. Bazin said he and 11 others were working to free them in one of the poorest sections of Port-au-Prince.

Looking for a loved one? Visit iReport.com

Bazin's dilemma was one of myriad stories of lost loved ones pouring into CNN this week via its tip lines and iReport.com. Other pleas for help have reportedly come from within the rubble of collapsed buildings.

Regine Madhere is one such case. The 26-year-old worked in the pharmacy of a four-story Caribbean market leveled by the temblor. Stateside friends and relatives in Port-au-Prince told CNN that Madhere had been sending texts to relatives and to a local radio station this week.

Reached Saturday in Port-au-Prince, Madhere's aunt and uncle said an American rescue team had been working through the night to rescue those trapped in the market's ruins.

Watch a rescue at the market from earlier in the week

"Nobody give a damn because these people are so poor. ... This is the last place they would ever think of coming."
--Jacques Bazin, humanitarian
RELATED TOPICS

Her uncle, Guy Gelin, further said he had seen the rescuers free six to eight people Friday and he was hopeful that Madhere would be free by day's end.

"They are working very, very hard. They make many holes so [those trapped] can breathe. They give us hope today," said her aunt, Ginette Madhere, who hasn't slept since the quake rocked the capital. Help the Madhere family find Regine

With a dearth of resources and rescuers in Haiti, victims are reaching out to locales as faraway as Florida, New York, even Germany. The long-distance text messages serve as a sign of the fear and desperation many are experiencing in the Western Hemisphere's most-impoverished nation.

Bazin said his own anguish is confounded by doubts that rescuers will reach his school in Ocadet anytime soon.

"Nobody give a damn because these people are so poor," he said. "This is the last place they would ever think of coming."

He planned to head into the city later Saturday, he said, to find more food for the trapped children. He said he also hoped to rent a tractor to move some of the larger chunks of concrete enveloping the students.

"I have to get them out before I get back to the States. I cannot just leave them like that," he said.

Part of complete coverage on
Haitians cope with wretched memories
They filled the grounds in front of the collapsed cathedral in Haiti's capital Wednesday. To remember. To cope. To pray.
Why U.S. aid workers refuse to give up
Can-Do founder Eric Klein spent most of 2010 in Haiti helping people recover from the devastating earthquake.
Haiti adoption; a new chance
What kind of parents would put their children in an orphanage?
Review of vote completed
A much-awaited review of Haiti's disputed presidential election has been completed but not yet been handed over to the president.
20,000 new jobs promised
Haiti's economy is getting a boost thanks to a venture with one of Korea's largest companies that promises to bring in 20,000 jobs.
Baby reunited with doctor
Nadine Devilme has thanked God countless times for saving her baby and has wanted to thank the doctor who treated the child after the earthquake.
To recover, Haiti needs leaders
What Haiti needs now is leadership from its sovereign government.
Bitter, displaced, Haitians wait in limbo
Amy Wilentz says a year after the earthquake, much of the funding to rebuild is stalled as aid organizations wait for the election crisis to be resolved.