Haitian government declares end of search-and-rescue phase

UN stresses relief efforts being ramped up; 10 days after quake, Israeli team pulls 22-year-old from rubble; 111,481 people confirmed dead.

haiti idf hospital 311 (photo credit: E.B. Solomont)
haiti idf hospital 311
(photo credit: E.B. Solomont)
Several hours after two people were rescued byinternational rescue teams in Haiti, the Haitian government declaredthe search-and-rescue phase over for the survivors of the massivequake, the United Nations said Saturday, stressing that thehumanitarian and relief efforts were still being ramped up.
Internationalsearch teams have rescued 132 people since the 7.0-magnitude quakerocked Haiti on January 12, the UN Office for the Coordination ofHumanitarian Affairs stated.
According to the UN, Haiti's government confirmed 111,481deaths and has also accounted for some 609,000 people without shelterin the Port-au-Prince metropolitan area.
Spokeswoman Elizebeth Byrs told The Associated Press thatrescue teams still searching through the rubble would not be preventedfrom carrying out whatever work they felt necessary. "It doesn't meanthe government will order them to stop. In case there is the slightestsign of life, they will act."
But she added: "Except for miracles, hope is unfortunately fading."
Ten days after a massive earthquake devastated the Caribbeancountry, an Israeli search and rescue team saved a 22-year-old Haitianman from the rubble of a collapsed building in Port-au-Prince,according to a statement from the IDF Spokesperson.
The man, Emmannuel Buso, was in stable condition, and was being treated at the IDF field hospital.
Buso said from his bed in the IDF field hospital near Haiti'smain airport that he survived by drinking his own urine and spent mostof his time under the debris in a listless daze, at times dreaming ofhis mother and thinking that he had in fact died.
"I am here today because God wants it," Buso said in an interview with The Associated Press.
Local residents alerted the Israeli team to the trapped man's location.
One member of the rescue team, IDF Maj. Zohar Moshe, was quotedin the statement as saying that "American and French doctors wereunable to rescue the trapped man and called upon the Israelidelegation's search and rescue teams who rescued the man within half anhour, from a tunnel, 2.5-3-meters long and were able to release himwhole and healthy."
Buso, a slender student and tailor with deep-set eyes, said hehad just come out of the shower when the quake hit. "I felt the housedancing around me," he said from his bed, covered by a reflective heatblanket in the hospital field tent. "I didn't know if I was up ordown."
He passed out and lay in a daze, dreaming at times that hecould hear his mother crying. The furniture in his room had collapsedaround him in such a way that it created a small space for him amid theruins of the house. He had no food. When he got desperately thirsty, hedrank his urine.
"I was very scared," he said. "My heart was jumping."
Elsewhere Friday, an 84-year-old woman was said by relatives tohave been pulled from the wreckage of her home, according to doctorsadministering oxygen and intravenous fluids to her at the GeneralHospital. Doctors said she was in critical condition.
Earlier Friday, doctors said a 69-year-old woman was pulledfrom the wreckage of a building, but some teams were giving up thesearch and efforts focused on expanding aid for survivors.
On Thursday, Brig.-Gen. Shalom Ben-Aryeh, commander of theIsraeli field hospital in Port-au-Prince, said that the IDF delegationwould return home only after it was confident that the wounded werereceiving proper treatment.
"As long as we don't have someone authoritative to take our wounded we won't leave," Ben-Aryeh said.
The IDF hospital, he said, has treated more than 450 patients, delivered seven babies and performed dozens of surgeries.
On Monday, Haiti announced that it had buried 70,000 bodies inmass graves as search and rescue personnel were continuing theirefforts to find more survivors or dead trapped under the debris.
On Sunday, once the American hospital starts functioning,Ben-Aryeh said that he planned to hold consultations with the IDF brassabout returning to Israel. There is a possibility that replacements forcurrent members of the delegation will be sent to Haiti if the IDFdecides to remain on the island.
"The decision will be made on Sunday," he said. "If we decide to stay longer we will replace some of the teams."
About 400 wounded and sick have been treated at the fieldhospital, which is located in a soccer field in the center of town,with about 140 operations carried out by the Israelis.
An IsraAid medical team consisting of 15 professionals, amongthem post-trauma experts, is set to leave for Haiti on Friday night.
Upon landing in Port-au-Prince, the team will assist thecountry in efforts to recover from the massive earthquake which struckit over a week ago. The medical personnel will also visit other areaswhich were affected by the earthquake.
Judy Siegel, AP and Yaakov Katz contributed to this report