Posted on January 19, 2010

Sask. Couple Survive Haiti Destruction

Canadian Broadcasting Centre, January 17, 2010

A Saskatchewan couple who witnessed widespread destruction in Haiti following a massive earthquake last week have safely returned home.

Melvin and Melanie Brundage of Nipawin said they were at an orphanage just outside the capital of Port-au-Prince on Tuesday afternoon when the 7.0-magnitude quake hit.

“It kinda sounded like a big truck. The ground started shaking like a big truck drove by and then all of a sudden it just got more intense and of course it was terrifying,” Melvin said, just minutes after arriving at the Saskatoon airport.

The couple said they were standing on a balcony at the time of the earthquake.

“You kind of fall to the floor and we grabbed the kids. . . . I didn’t know if I was supposed to stay on top or if I was supposed to get through the house. I didn’t know if the house was going to fall down or not,” Melvin said.

“Eventually it stopped and we ran outside and we just stayed outside in the compound for quite a while,” he said.

The couple has a six-year-old adopted son from Haiti, Ritchy, who was not along with them on their trip. They said they were in the country because they’re adopting another boy.

However, they elected to leave Haiti–and their little boy–behind after the earthquake, saying they felt they could do more good from Canada then they could by staying there.

“We decided it was best to come back to Canada and just see what we could do from this end and so we could be with our son,” Melvin said through tears.

“It was a very hard decision to make because we were there and we had our other son, but we had to leave him behind.”

The couple said the situation in the country is dire, and the orphanage they were at, which is home to about 140 children, is in need of supplies.

“They’re cut off from supply. They only have about three days of water left, so they are trying to conserve . . . we’re just asking anyone to help out with supplies,” Melvin said.

The couple said they’ll try to return to Haiti soon to bring their new son home to Canada.