Taiwan News, Staff Writer
2010-01-19 12:00 AM
The first survivor, a French security guard at the United Nations Peacekeeping Force's police dormitory, had been buried under the rubble for five days.
Nevertheless, he was in relatively good shape and could speak as he was brought out, said Chen Shun-tien, one of the Taiwanese team leaders.
The guard was discovered after he reportedly fired a gun under the rubble. The Taiwanese workers used sonar equipment and specially trained dogs to locate the man. A team from the United States brought in heavy excavation equipment while a group of rescue workers from El Salvador also joined in the effort.
Taiwanese media reported a quarrel between the Taiwanese and the U.S. teams about rescue methods, but the Frenchman was eventually taken out from under the remains of the building.
The Taiwanese team moved on to a location 1km further, where it rescued a 40-year-old security guard at Haiti's Foreign Ministry. They found the man by using sonar equipment and managed to give him water before pulling him out of the debris with the assistance of a team from New York.
The Taiwanese workers also found four bodies nearby, the National Fire Agency said. The search effort was joined Sunday by a separate team from Taiwan's Red Cross Society.
Because of fears about a worsening security situation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it was moving a group of eight Taiwanese citizens to the neighboring Dominican Republic, though its diplomats were still evaluating the need for further evacuations.
The Spanish-language country, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, has turned into a major entrance route to the earthquake-stricken areas. President Ma Ying-jeou is likely to visit the Dominican Republic later this month while on his way to attend a presidential inauguration in Honduras, another one of Taiwan's limited group of 23 diplomatic allies.
The Taiwanese teams now on the ground in Haiti were forced to wait in the Dominican Republic before finding suitable air transport.
The first team included 14 specialists, two dogs and 2,000kgs of medical supplies and high-tech rescue equipment.