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Scot helps save last survivor of quake

The last survivor to be pulled from the rubble of Haiti was saved by a Scottish aid worker, it emerged last night.

Carmen Michalska, 36, helped pull 24-year-old Wismond Exantus from a devastated building 11 days after the earthquake that has now claimed at least 150,000 lives in the Port-au-Prince area alone.

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Haiti Communications Minister Marie-Laurence Jocelyn Lassegue based the grim statistic on a body count in the capital and its outlying areas by a state company that has been collecting bodies for burial in a mass grave north of the city.

The figure does not account for deaths in other areas of the country or for bodies already burned by relatives, she added. On Saturday, the UN put the confirmed figure at 111,481, although the estimated death toll is about 200,000.

Ms Lassegue’s announcement came hours after 24-year-old Mr Exantus defied all expectations by being pulled alive from the wreckage of a hotel 11 days after the earthquake. Rescuers dug a tunnel through the rubble to reach Wismond Exantus, who said he had survived by diving under a desk and consuming cola, whisky, beer and biscuits.

Ms Michalska, from Aberdeen, was working with the international team when they came across Mr Exantus, 24 hours after officials called off the hunt for more survivors.

Because she was the smallest rescuer there, she was chosen to crawl through the narrow tunnel to reach him.

"To come here today and actually find somebody alive is absolutely amazing. He was just saying he was there and he was okay," she said.

"He didn’t look as though he had any injuries. he was just glad to get out. he was just saying, ‘Thank you’."

"I would eat anything I found," said Mr Exantus later. "After the quake, I didn’t know when it was day and when it was night. It was God who was tucking me away in his arms."

More than 130 people have been rescued alive but experts have little hope that further survivors will be found.

Haiti’s Government has called off the hunt for survivors. However, one mother still missing her children said it was too soon to give up.

Nicole Abraham, 33 -- whose three children, aged four, six and 15, have been missing since the earthquake struck on January 12 -- said: "Maybe there is a chance they are still alive."

UK crews returned home at the weekend, having pulled four people alive from the rubble, including a two-year-old toddler called Mia.

Operations commander Pete Stevenson, 48, said she and her mother had visited the rescuers three days after sye was saved. "She was in fine health and was singing and dancing," he added.

Up to three million people are thought to be hurt or homeless, many living in nightmarish conditions.

Thousands of men, women and children queued up to receive food and water yesterday morning from American and Brazilian soldiers in the notorious slum of Cite Soleil, where there has been looting and violence.

American and Brazilian soldiers handed out tonnes of food and thousands of litres of water.

Criticism continues about the speed at which aid is reaching survivors but Lieutenant General Ken Keen, commander of the US military operation in Haiti, said: "The aid we have available is being pushed out. But the need is tremendous."

Fundraising efforts continue around the world, including that of a seven-year-old boy from London who has raised more than £7000.

Charlie Simpson, from Fulham, cycled five miles around South Park in London to raise funds for Unicef’s Haiti Earthquake Children’s Appeal.

He had hoped to raise £500 but news of his challenge led to more than £7000 flooding into his appeal.

Donations by Britons to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal have topped £42 million.

 

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