U.S. Special Operations service members respond to elementary school hit by landslide, four children
February 18, 2010
CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti-Four children are dead after a landslide hit an elementary school in Cap-Haitien around noon, Feb. 15.
Members of the Nepalese police force working for the United Nations secured the scene at the Petite Ecole Francaise school while seven members from the Joint Forces Special Operations Component Command operating out of Cap-Haitien worked to pull the children out from under the rubble, according to one of the U.S. Special Operations service members who responded to the scene.
The team worked with members of a Haitian fire department and doctors from a non-governmental organization who also responded to the incident.
After recovering the first child, another landslide complicated efforts to reach the others, said the U.S. Special Operations member.
Four hours after responding to the scene, all of the bodies were recovered and school administrators said all the children were accounted for. The four children were seated along the back wall of the school at the time of the incident.
The two-story school stood at the foot of a tall mountain in the northern city of Cap-Haitien. Both floors were crushed by the landslide and a large boulder sat on all the rubble, according to U.S. servicemembers.
The city has been experiencing heavy rain for the past two days. Members of U.S. Special Operations Civil Affairs teams continue to work with NGOs, U.N. representatives and the Government of Haiti to assist citizens following the Jan. 12 earthquake.