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Utah woman survives earthquake in Haiti

(Carol Smith)


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SALT LAKE CITY -- A woman from Logan was in Haiti when the earthquake hit Tuesday, and she survived. She had just arrived in the country for a 10-day humanitarian mission when it happened.

Carol Smith is in the city of Bon Repos, near Port-au-Prince, working at an orphanage. After hearing the initial news of the massive quake, her daughter, Ashley Crum, was preparing herself to hear that her mother was dead.

"They said on the news that not hearing from them was a bad sign," Crum said.

After a few hours, Smith was able to call her daughter on a satellite phone.

"I only got to talk to her for a few seconds, but mainly she just wanted me to let everyone know she was OK," Crum said.

Satellite phone is also the way Smith was able to talk to KSL News Wednesday.

"Just, please, tell everybody to pray for us, and we can use anything," Smith said.

The earthquake hit, one day after Smith landed in Haiti. She and her friend Mandi McBride, who are both nurses from Logan, went to help at Ruuska Village, an orphanage 7 miles outside Port au Prince.

"There were babies that were on the second floor rolling all over the place, and glass breaking," Smith said.

The orphanage is still standing, but Smith said the earthquake destroyed the two neighboring villages. Some people in the building next to them were killed.

"I was feeling so blessed to be alive because we -- it was very hard, and you know, walls were falling, and you just didn't know," Smith said. "I think all of us kind of felt that we weren't going to make it."

Now Smith has found herself on a humanitarian mission beyond what she ever expected.

"We did not lose anyone here, but we have had people come in all day with injuries we've had to take care of," she said.

Smith has treated people with cuts and broken bones.

She said the orphanage has some clean water. There is a depot for food and clothes, but they can't get to it. To make matters worse, the looting has already begun and there's nothing they can do about it.

She said she hopes help will come soon. All the orphans at Ruuska Village are adopted and just waiting to get to safer places.

"We have seen nothing, absolutely nothing. We've never seen anyone, any law officer, anybody from the UN, any food, any water, anything yet," Smith said.

Smith was scheduled to come back to Utah on Jan. 19. There are no flights leaving Haiti, so she doesn't know how long she'll be there.

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Story compiled with contributions from Sandra Yi and Paul Nelson.

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Sandra Yi
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