'Horror quake hard to handle'

MOTHOSI Malaka and Keabetswe Tshimologo will never forget what they saw in Haiti's rubble.

The two members of the North West emergency services were part of a 10-member search-and-rescue mission that arrived back from the island nation this week.

Malaka said: "To be honest, I didn't know what to expect when I left South Africa. This was my first experience.

"Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to witness.

"What I saw cannot be compared to anything I have ever seen before."

Asked whether he would be ready and willing to return to Haiti if he were asked to, he said: "I don't think I will return to Haiti. I'm not mentally and physically ready to do so."

Malaka was part of a four-member team that was stationed at a cathedral which was converted to a hospital.

There he saw up to 600 bodies lying everywhere and many injured children.

"I saw children being amputated," he said.

His colleague Tshimologo was also disturbed by his experience.

"We saw some of the images on the news but we couldn't believe what we saw in real life.

"It was hard seeing so many bodies lying around."

Unlike Malaka, Tshimologo said he was willing to return Haiti if asked to do so.

The team members will meet to discuss possible counselling as no prior arrangements had been made upon their arrival.