Saturday, January 23

Haiti Crisis Breaking News: Search for survivors still underway

UPDATE 4:08 PM Eastern Time
Brenda at RBO has been keeping me updated on Haiti news at Twitter; at 3:58 PM ET she reported this Tweet: "French official says man found in good condition under rubble of food shop 11 days after Haiti quake – AP." From the AP report via 9&10 News
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — A French official says a 23-year-old survivor of Haiti's earthquake has been found in good condition. Rescuers have tunneled beneath the rubble of a fruit and vegetable shop to get water to him.[...]
And moments ago she sent this BBC report from today, time stamped 20:56 GMT:
"We have positive detection of a live victim in the building," US firefighter John Boyle told Reuters news agency.

The trapped man is thought to have said five others are also alive under the ruins of a hotel and supermarket in the capital, Port-au-Prince. [...]
From the rest of the report the Beeb was still under the impression that the search and rescue effort has been called off. The same for the AP report, although I don't know the exact time; by now at least AP knows the search is still on.
I'm not sure how to report this: Either someone at the Associated Press or the United Nations screwed up, or Haiti's government backtracked today after hearing howls of protest from around the world. Either way, this morning the Associated Press and the (U.K.) Times Online (and a few other news organizations) ran with an alleged confirmation from the UN that Haiti's government had called off the search for survivors:

"Today the United Nations confirmed the government in Haiti has declared the search and rescue over, 11 days after the earthquake hit."

Not so, according to breaking news from the Miami Herald (no time stamp on the report):
Breaking News: Haiti officials: Search and rescue efforts still on


PORT-AU-PRINCE -- Haitian government officials say they are still looking for earthquake survivors, despite earlier reports that they had called off search and rescue efforts.

"There has been a misinterpretation of the president's declaration," Haitian Minister of Communications Marie Laurence Lassegue told The Miami Herald.

Before making a final decision on future search and rescue efforts, Haitian officials are waiting for operators on the ground to give President René Préval their recommendation.

Earlier Saturday, the Associated Press, citing a United Nations statement released Friday, reported that Haiti's government had declared its search and rescue phase for survivors over.

But U.N. officials in Haiti told The Miami Herald the government did not tell them it was calling off search and rescue efforts.

Amid the confusion, other rescue teams are still looking for survivors would continue their searches, a U.N. spokeswoman told the Associated Press.

On Friday, rescue workers with Israeli Defense Forces freed a 22-year-old man entombed in the ruins of Port-au-Prince for 10 days. [Another team rescued an 84 year old woman from the rubble yesterday, as well.]

All together, 132 people were rescued from the rubble between Jan. 13 and 21, according to the U.N.

Some 49 international search and rescue teams -- down from 67, were still in Haiti as of Saturday, the U.N. said. [...]

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