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Quake miracle baby back in mum's arms, seven months after being given up for dead

Clutching her baby for the first time since the Haiti earthquake, Marie Miracle Seignon's smile -- not to mention her middle name -- says it all.

The 26-year-old broke down in tears and cried: "I thought she was dead," as she was reunited with eight-month-old Landina.

Ms Seignon gave up hope that her daughter survived after the hospital where she was receiving treatment for burns in Port-au-Prince collapsed during the disaster in January.

Landina was plucked from the rubble and flown to London for treatment after a charity was unable to find her family.

But the mother was eventually tracked down six weeks ago and, following DNA tests, she was flown to the UK for an emotional reunion.

"I thought she was dead, so my feelings were very, very strong," Ms Seignon cried.

"But when I saw her I was amazed. I couldn't believe she was alive -- this is a very happy moment."

Landina was in the hospital in Haiti after receiving life-threatening burns during a fire at her family's home in the slum area, charity workers said.

She was in intensive care at the hospital when the quake struck, killing some of the nurses caring for her.





Amputated

Landina then underwent surgery to have an arm amputated after being relocated to another hospital in Haiti.

She was evacuated to London after she came to the attention of surgeon David Nott, a specialist from London.

Her badly burnt skull was operated on at Great Ormond Street Hospital while her mother was eventually tracked down in Bizoton.

Ms Seignon added: "I want to thank everyone involved in saving my daughter."

When asked whether Landina would now rejoin her in Haiti, the mother added: "I think many things about the future. Who knows what will happen." Craniofacial surgeons David Dunaway and Simon Eckles have been leading Landina's treatment and recovery.

Mr Eckles said: "Essentially mum thought that Landina had died because there was another baby of a similar age there and she was told Landina had died and that was not the case.

"She was under the rubble for about 48 hours before someone heard her cries.

"The team at Great Ormond Street really looked after her well. She had infections, she really needed lots of care."

The magnitude 7 quake which struck in mid-January killed more than 200,000 people and left more than one million people in need of aid.

Haiti was already the Western hemisphere's poorest nation before the earthquake hit.

The UK-based charity Facing The World covered the baby's medical costs and is trying to raise money for her ongoing treatment. Sarah Driver-Jowitt, who runs the charity, said it had not yet been decided when or how she would return to her family's home in Haiti.

"Making her safe requires funding," Ms Driver-Jowitt said. "It's been a long journey with lots of false leads as well as good ones."

Donations to help finance Landina's care can be made by visiting the website www.facingtheworld.net.


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