A Dutch rescue team and eight sniffer dogs arrived in Haiti on Friday evening to try to find survivors from Tuesday’s massive earthquake.
The team were immediately involved in digging a woman and her four-year-old daughter out of their collapsed home in the capital Port-au-Prince, the Telegraaf reported on Saturday.
The team’s arrival had been delayed because of paperwork problems and chaos at the island’s main airport.
A group of 18 Dutch nationals who had been in Haiti were evacuated to the island of Curacao on Saturday morning. They include one couple and a Haitian child they had just adopted.
But two other couples, also with their newly-adopted children, are thought to have been killed when the hotel they were staying in, the Villa Therese, collapsed.
One couple from Rijswijk had just picked up their two children. ‘They were very happy,’ a spokesman for the Wereldkinderen foundation which arranged the adoption of the four and seven-year-old, told the Telegraaf. ‘Because the quake happened at a mealtime, we are sure they were in it.’
Father and son Thijs and Huub Olthof, who are in Haiti for a school aid project, had a narrow escape when they arrived at the Villa Therese just as the earthquake happened. ‘We were just about the drive up to the entrance,’ father Huub was quoted as saying by the Telegraaf.
‘We saw the high walls wobble and then there was just a cloud of dust,’ he said in an email. ‘It only took a minute. We were able to help a Dutch couple with a small child escape via the roof of the hotel.’
Dutchman Peter Scheepers, who is living temporarily on Haiti told the paper he could see the wreckage of the hotel Montana from his home. ‘We can see and smell the bodies. And we still hear the sound of people who have been trapped.’