Haiti quake victim to visit Japan
In commemoration of the first anniversary of the Haiti Earthquake that occurred on Jan. 12th, 2010, AMDA invited its disaster victim in sharing one's tragic experience with the victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake that struck western Japan on Jan. 17th, 1995.
Eighteen year-old Gaelle Eznard, the victim of the Haiti Earthquake, had her right leg amputated and is now living on a prosthetic limb which AMDA provided as part of its rehabilitative assistance. She lost her leg when she was trapped under the destroyed apartment building where her family resided. At the time when the quake hit she was taking care of her family friend's baby. She was rescued late at night after her brothers searched her for many hours, but her leg had already gone numb; she had no idea either if the baby was alive or not as she could barely lift her body to see the baby on her lap.
When she was rescued, the baby was found dead; she was immediately taken to the hospital and was amputated on the following day. However, it came as a deep shock for her as well as for the entire family that she no longer had her right leg when the operation was over. There was no explanation to be made before the amputation and her parents thought their daughter would come out of the operation room with a plastered leg.
It surely has been a turbulent year for her after she lost her leg; aside from the physical disabilities she needed to overcome, to this day she gets depressed whenever she sees herself among other people who are "normal".
The victims of the Great Hanshin Earthquake who she will be meeting this time had similar experiences with Gaelle. Since they were handicapped due to the injuries from the quake, Gaelle is eager to learn from them how they have survived and have been coping with their life after such a shocking experience and loss.
Gaelle, accompanied by AMDA's local coordinator in Haiti, will arrive in Japan on Jan. 14th, 2011. An exchange meeting will be held in Kobe with the said Japanese quake victims followed by the press conference/debriefing session on AMDA's activities in Haiti to date.