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Haiti mercy staff find buried children

PUBLISHED: 10:51 25 February 2010 | UPDATED: 10:33 12 August 2010

HOSPITAL workers are reeling after children were buried alive by a devastating mudslide on a stricken island hit by earthquakes.

HOSPITAL workers are reeling after children were buried alive by a devastating mudslide on a stricken island hit by earthquakes.

Mercy mission staff at West Wickham based charity, Haiti Hospital Appeal (HHA), are mourning the death of scores of children consumed by a mudslide at a school near Cap-Haitien in the north of Haiti.

An aftershock combined with heavy rain caused the side of a mountain to collapse, burying children and teachers alive in a horror echoing the Aberfan tragedy in Wales on October 21, 1966.

Charity co-founder, Carwyn Hill, pictured, and wife Reninca arrived at the scene in the island's only emergency response ambulance last week.

One of the victims was a daughter of HHA's medical director, Dr Paul Toussaint.

HHA ambassador, Reverend Paul Hill, said: "The children were all out playing. The poor girl was standing at her favourite spot when the mountainside gave way.

"Carwyn arrived at the scene quickly to tend to the wounded but it was another two and a half hours before the bodies of the first children were pulled out.

"He was there to see the lifeless daughter of his close friend pulled free." Following the tragedy the charity's hospital and clinic based near Cap-Haitien has been trying to treat more than 500 patients with only 20 doctors as best they could.

Reverend Hill said: "Paul is a very good friend, doctor and father. His loss is ours too. It must have been particularly shocking and difficult for Carwyn and Donnie, a Haitian volunteer, to have to deal with that particular situation.

"It is always difficult whenever we have to deal with seriously ill or injured children, and it's obviously much worse when they lose their lives.

"This loss has hit us all hard, but, next to the Toussaints, will have hit Carwyn and Reninca hardest. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Toussaints and with all who have lost loved ones in this ongoing tragedy.We grieve with the people of Haiti, and we continue to serve them as best we can."

Earlier this month two 40-foot containers filled with items sent in by Bromley borough residents, along with vital medical equipment and food were shipped out to Haiti. Aftershocks have placed an additional burden on the charity.

For further information on the Haiti Hospital Appeal and how to support it, log on to: www.haitihospitalappeal.org or write to Haiti Hospital Appeal, 30, Gates Green Road, West Wickham, Kent BR4 9JW.

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