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NYC emergency responders save lives in Haiti

People walk down a street with several fires burning in Port-au-Prince on Sunday. (Photo: AP)

A squadron of New York heroes has plunged into rescue efforts in Haiti, with police and fire officers saving four lives Sunday.

Rescue crews pulled two men and a teenage girl out of the rubble of a grocery store in Port-au-Prince, where a three-story building collapsed after last week’s earthquake. More than two dozens officers worked “through the night” to save them, police said, with crews busting through concrete blocks.

The victims were taken to a hospital, where the girl treated for leg injuries. The survivors had been living on food and water from the store.

Sunday afternoon, emergency crews rescued a 55-year-old man trapped for five days in a collapsed four-story building. Responders used jackhammers and cutting tools to free the man, and provided intravenous fluid to combat his serious dehydration, police said.

An American Health Organization estimates 50,000 to 100,000 died in the 7.0-magnitude tremor, but Haitian officials believe the number is higher. An estimated 300,000 were living in the streets.

Last Thursday, the city sent 80 police and fire officials to assist with finding victims who were still trapped. Crews are sleeping in tents at the airport, with responders bringing their own generators, showers and food, police said.

The team plans to spend at least a week in Haiti, bringing three tractor-trailers full of equipment that included sound gear for detecting trapped victims, cutting tools and rescue dogs.

In other Haiti news, rapper Wyclef Jean defended his Yele foundation after screening groups raised concerns about its accounting practices.

“It is impossible for me to even comprehend the recent attacks on my character,” Jean said in a statement.

The foundation, which has raised more than $2 million for relief efforts, was closely intertwined with Jean's businesses, according to a review by the AP.

(With AP)

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