Haiti Survivor Recounts Struggle To Survive

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  • Melissa Elliott. | Photo: TODAY'S TMJ4 HD

MILWAUKEE - Melissa Elliott is back home with friends and family after surviving the terrible devastation in Haiti.

With tears in her eyes, Melissa Elliott embraced family members. She wasn't sure she would ever see them again after the earthquake in Haiti demolished her hotel.
 
"I wasn't trapped. I was able to climb to the next room and then jump down and crawl underneath the roof. But my legs are all bruised and scratched up, and I have some bruises on my upper body," Elliott explained.
 
At first, Melissa and her classmates from Lynn University thought a bomb had gone off. In the hours that followed, they saw some horrific things.
 

Raw Video:
AP Video of the quake as it's happening

How You Can Help
A series of links to Milwaukee-area and other organizations helping with relief in Haiti

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Milwaukee-Area Student Returns from Haiti 
UWM Teacher's Brother Found Alive in Hotel Elevator Shaft
La Crosse Man Feared Dead in Haiti
Watch Out for Haiti Charity Scams
Sheboygan Church Group OK after Quake
Local Woman Longs To Help Family in Haiti
Local Haitian Student Worries and Waits
No Word Yet on Child Sponsored by WTMJ Anchor
Racine Couple Loses Family in Earthquake
Church Groups Workers OK
UW Group in Haiti Unhurt
Local Groups Reeling
Milwaukee's Eyes on Haiti
MSNBC Coverage

Audio: 
Mike Elliott letting "Wisconsin's Morning News" know Melissa Elliott was found
Dr. Ron and Ronnie Pruhs, who have done service work in Haiti for years, on 620WTMJ's Wisconsin's Morning News

Blog: 
Shelley Walcott's "Don't Tell The Boss": My Hope for Haiti
The Cold-Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller: How To Help

"There were tremors throughout the whole entire night, and you could just hear the whole city down underneath us, screaming. You were walking over bodies, it was horrible. People were just sitting there, crying. They had nowhere to go. Every building was destroyed," Elliott said.
 
With only one working cell phone, Melissa and her friends weren't able to get in touch with their families for days. Food and water were scarce.
 
"We had to stay strong because we needed to survive. We didn't want to be there any longer than we were," Elliott said.
 
Melissa plans to rest with her family before going back to school in Florida. She can't stop thinking about the four students and two teachers from her humanitarian group who are still missing.
 
"It replays in my mind every second, but right now I'm just trying to be strong and focus all of our effort into bringing the rest of the group back safely," Elliott said.
 
Melissa is asking people to continue to donate to the relief efforts. When asked if she would return to Haiti to continue her humanitarian work, she said, "in a heartbeat."

 

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