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Haiti earthquake baby: Saved from debris, she’s now a happy Miami toddler

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Kathie Klarreich

(Read caption) Jenny, the first Haitian to be airlifted to the US after the earthquake in 2010 when she was just an infant, sits in between her parents Junior and Nadine in their North Miami, Fla. home.

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Jenny looks and acts like your average three-year-old. She’s capricious, charming, and curious. She runs back and forth in her Miami apartment with carefree abandon. I have a hard time reconciling that this is the same, emaciated, maggot-infested infant I first met three years earlier when I drove by just as her uncle pulled her nearly lifeless body from a pile of rubble she’d been under for five days following Haiti’s  deadly Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake.

 

The exchange happened in an instant – the three-month-old was handed to be to take to a makeshift hospital – but for the next hour, I was near hysteria, terrified that this infant would not survive long enough for us to get her to help. Driving was already a nightmare, given the dead bodies, smashed cars, and collapsed buildings clogging the roads. A colleague dripped water from a cloth onto Jenny’s lips, and we prayed as we lurched along.

Amidst all of the horror of those days following the quake, this was one of the few things that went right – we managed to make it to a makeshift hospital in time, and a competent staff attended to Jenny. Within hours they put her on an empty plane to Fort Lauderdale where she got the medical attention she needed. If any of these steps had been delayed, Jenny surely would have died.

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