Rice vendor may have been trapped in quake rubble for 27 days

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A rice vendor may have lived under the rubble of a flea market for 27 days with little more than water and possibly fruit, a doctor said Tuesday, in what would be a dramatic tale of survival four weeks after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — A rice vendor may have lived under the rubble of a flea market for 27 days with little more than water and possibly fruit, a doctor said Tuesday, in what would be a dramatic tale of survival four weeks after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.

The man’s account could not be independently confirmed, however, and the doctor conceded medical workers were skeptical at first, but he said they began to believe the man when he regained consciousness and told his story.

The nab said he had just finished selling rice for the day at a downtown flea market when quake struck Jan. 12. He said he didn’t suffer any major injuries and was trapped on his side in an area where food and drink vendors were selling their goods.

“Based on that (his story), we believe him,” said Dr. Dushyantha Jayaweera, a physician at the University of Miami Medishare field hospital where hundreds of patients have been treated since the quake.

Doctors said two men first took the vendor — identified as Evans Monsigrace — to a Salvation Army medical centre in Port-au-Prince on Monday and he was then taken to the University of Miami hospital because of his critical condition. The men who brought him also said he had been trapped under the debris since the disaster.

The patient was suffering from severe dehydration and malnutrition, but health care workers expressed skepticism about his story when some of his lab work came back relatively normal, Jayaweera said. Then the man regained consciousness and was lucid enough to recount a tale that seems plausible, the doctor said.

Still, doctors at the field hospital or at a Salvation Army medical centre had no way to confirm the story.

The last confirmed survivor found in Haiti was a 16-year-old girl removed from rubble by a French rescue team 15 days after the quake. Doctors said at the time that disaster survivors may be able to sustain themselves with a water supply and without medical attention for up to two weeks.

Nery Ynclan, a University of Miami media officer in Haiti, said the rice vendor was in stable condition Tuesday and being treated for dehydration and malnutrition.

“Someone could not survive 28 days without water,” Ynclan said of the frail 28-year-old man whose legs are rail thin. “You can go nine weeks without food.”

Jayaweera said the man originally claimed that he had not had any water or food. The man, however, had a normal kidney function with heart palpitations, suggesting he drank at least had some water but not enough to avoid getting dehydrated, the doctor said.

“He came in delirious, asking to die,” Ynclan said, noting Creole translators were at the field hospital.

“He’s still out of it. He answers basic questions,” she said, adding he was nibbling on chocolate and probably would be at the field hospital for a week.

The man’s mother, who was at the field hospital, told workers that people clearing rubble from downtown discovered him and alerted his brothers.

A videotape shot by Michael Andrew, an Arizona-based freelance photographer and a volunteer at the Salvation Army medical centre, shows doctors on Monday trying without success to insert a needle into the man’s arm to give him fluid. Doctors there then referred the man to the field hospital at the airport, Andrew told The Associated Press.

Andrew said the man was delirious and identified himself through an interpreter as Evans Muncie, 28. The Salvation Army, in a brief posting on its Web site, identified him Tuesday as Evan Ocinia.

That posting says the two men, whom it didn’t identify, found the man in the debris of the market Monday. But Andrew said Tuesday it wasn’t clear whether others had provided food and water to the man and that many details of the case had yet to be learned.

It also wasn’t known why teams of international search and rescue workers were not alerted to the man’s reported circumstances in the wrecked market.

The Haiti quake killed 230,000 people, the Haitian government said Tuesday.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nearly five per cent of Alberta businesses did not survive the first 10 months of the pandemic. (Black Press File photo).
Nearly 5% of Alberta businesses closed during 2020 pandemic

Will more closures happen before it’s over?

Red Deer Rebels forward Arshdeep Bains eyes a loose puck in front of the Medicine Hat Tigers net Saturday night in WHL action at the Centrium. (Photo by ROB WALLATOR/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels fall short in 12th straight loss

Tigers 5 Rebels 2 (Saturday) Tigers 3 Rebels 2 (Monday) The Red… Continue reading

Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and vacation bookings are being increased in B.C. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. announces signage along Alberta border to discourage non-essential travel

B.C. extends COVID-19 indoor dining, group fitness ban until May 25

Red Deer property owners will receive their 2019 property assessment notices in the next few days.  (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer awaiting more details on how federal budget impacts city

The City of Red Deer is awaiting more information on how much… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Letters
Letter: Restrictions have nothing to do with religion

Many have framed the closure of GraceLife Church near Edmonton by Alberta… Continue reading

LtE bug
Letter: Thanking volunteers in Red Deer

National Volunteer Week is April 18 to 24. At the Canadian Cancer… Continue reading

Letter to the editor
Letter: Good on MLAs for speaking out

This is a letter in regard to MLAs not standing united behind… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
Family: Happiness can be found in many ways

I’ve heard it said that necessity is the mother of invention. I… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators' Connor Brown, right, scores on Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during second-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Alta., Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Connor Brown scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 4-2 win over Calgary Flames

Canada head coach Bev Priestman reacts during the women's international friendly soccer match between England and Canada at Bet365 stadium in Stoke on Trent, England, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. Priestman says her goal is to help Canada move up the Olympic podium after back-to-back bronze medals at the 2012 and 2016 Games. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira
Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Olympic soccer draw will allow Canadians to start planning on and off the pitch

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Federal government’s extension of CEWS in budget is some good news for CFL franchises

Canada's Brendan Bottcher dropped a 6-3 decision to Scotland's Bruce Mouat in the men's final of the Humpty's Champions Cup. Bottcher makes a shot against Scotland at the Men's World Curling Championships in Calgary, Alta., Friday, April 9, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Mixed results for Canadian teams at Champions Cup as Homan wins, Bottcher loses

Most Read