In 2010, the Caribbean country of Haiti suffered an earthquake. It’s been a catastrophic and unforeseen natural disaster that has taken hundreds of thousands of lives.
So, did Evans Monsignac, a father of two, live without food or potable water for 27 days? You can watch the video here.
The Great Quake
It was on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, when Haiti experienced a colossal and catastrophic earthquake of 7.0 moment magnitude.
The earthquake caused terrible damage to the nation’s biggest and most populated cities like Port-au-Prince and Jacmel. The disaster consumed towns, ports, and famous landmarks in the country. What is more unfortunate was the many Haitians who lost their lives and livelihoods in the dreadful disaster.
Haiti is a poor country with a history of national debt and unfavourable trade policies. The country is also bedeviled with existing poverty and poor housing conditions. It was these terrible conditions that made Evans Monsignac, a 27-year-old vendor, to engage in local trade in one of the country’s poorest slums, Portail Saint Joseph.
Evans Monsignac was also responsible for caring for his mother, his 20-year-old wife, his four-year-old children by selling rice and cooking oil, every day.
At 5 am on the morning of the deadly disaster, Monsignac got himself ready and caught the usual bus to the La Saline marketplace, where he usually set up his booth.
Ironically, Monsignac made a great profit on the day of the earthquake and had just sold his last batch of rice when everything around him started to shake violently and objects of every shape and size began flying all over the place. Then suddenly, an enormous piece of debris came crashing down on him.
The earthquake shook the merchant off his feet which sent him towards the ground. Everywhere around him, he could hear shouts and screams as he tried to roll back and forth, avoiding much of the debris. After much struggle, he was trapped with nowhere left to go. He couldn’t move, and he couldn’t think as the light of the day began to black out.
Still buried under what was apparently a mountain of rubble, Evans Monsignac couldn’t believe that he had survived. However, the pain in his body reminded him that he was still alive and he used the remaining amount of strength he had to call out but all to no avail.
Once it became clear that no one was coming, Evans Monsignac came to the painful realization that he must have at least some food and clean water if he was going to live. He also knew that he was the only survivor in that particular debris.
No Day, No Night
For 27 days, life for Evans Monsignac was a blur of pain and loneliness, as he drifted in and out of consciousness. At this stage, all he could think of was his family. He prayed silently that they were safe, that his poor house hadn’t suffered the same predicament as the building that had fallen on him.
On the third day of his entrapment, he noticed a small amount of water. But as the water turned out, it was sewage oozing underneath the wreckage of the marketplace. As it dribbled past where he was lying, the 27-year-old father of two knew he had no choice but to scoop it up, foul as it was. Although Evans Monsignac got sick from drinking the sewage, he continued to do so. To get food would be another matter.
Evans Monsignac Rescued
After being trapped for nearly one month without food and clean water, Monsignac was rescued by volunteers of the Salvation Army who were helping victims of the earthquake in the country after the disaster. They soon had him transferred to a field hospital and then abroad to a hospital in Tampa, Florida.
Today, most of what Monsignac remembers is the single hope that kept him alive the entire time he was down under the rubble of the earthquake. He had told the health workers who had rescued him that he was not dying. Nevertheless, he had lost an unbelievable amount of weight during his imprisonment.
Evans Monsignac refers to himself as a miracle, and no doubt, he truly is. Interestingly, that same miracle seemed to have also protected his family, who were apprehensive to see him after he underwent treatment for many burns, gastrointestinal troubles, extreme dehydration, and malnutrition.
Even to this day, Monsignac doesn’t know how he survived, he thanks God for his miraculous survival and for giving him the energy to fight the ordeal he had found himself in as he returned to his life and his family with newfound respect.
Do you know any other survivor of an earthquake or natural disaster? You can share them in the comment box below.