Dogged Detective Work Reunites Father and Daughter Separated in Haiti Quake

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NBC Nightly News
Brian Williams/Ian Williams
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NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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In Haiti, UNICEF workers use drawings by a 6-year-old girl, separated from her family in the earthquake, to help reunite her with relatives -- an example of an island-wide family reunification system being set up.



"Dogged Detective Work Reunites Father and Daughter Separated in Haiti Quake." Ian Williams, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 1 Mar. 2010. NBC Learn. Web. 8 September 2018.


Williams, I. (Reporter), & Williams, B. (Anchor). (2010, March 1). Dogged Detective Work Reunites Father and Daughter Separated in Haiti Quake. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"Dogged Detective Work Reunites Father and Daughter Separated in Haiti Quake" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 03/01/2010. Accessed Sat Sep 8 2018 from NBC Learn:


Dogged Detective Work Reunites Father and Daughter Separated in Haiti Quake


And let's not forget the situation in Haiti and the ongoing suffering there. Even though it will be seven weeks tomorrow since that quake, millions are still spending every night outdoors as the rainy season now approaches. But there are minor victories to be found, and our own Ian Williams, reporting tonight from Port-au-Prince, found one of them.

IAN WILLIAMS reporting:

She was six years old and her name was Sterling. That's all they knew about the little girl found wandering the streets of Port-au-Prince days after the quake. Marie de la Soudiere, a UNICEF expert on tracing lost families, asked her about life before the houses fell down. And soon Sterling was drawing her home, her church, graveyards, all vital clues. Detective work, isn't it?

Ms. MARIE de la SOUDIERE (UNICEF Child Protection Consultant): That's what it is.

I. WILLIAMS: They return to where Sterling was found. Suddenly she was pointing.

Ms. de la SOUDIERE: When she was drawing, she drew a cemetery. And I did--wasn't sure it was true, but there it is.

I. WILLIAMS: They continued on foot, but she seemed to lose her bearings amid the rubble. The trail was going cold. Then suddenly she spotted an alleyway. She raced ahead, running, dancing almost, up the narrow rubble-covered slope. `That was my house,' she said. `It's broken now.' Then into a tented town where she found her aunt and sister, but not her parents. But they had a cell phone number for her father. `Daddy, where are you?' she said. `I'm coming to see you.' She raced back down the hill and into his outstretched arms. `I walked everywhere looking for you,' he cried. A father and daughter reunited. Sterling's successful homecoming will be an encouragement to those trying to bring together families torn apart by the quake.

For de la Soudiere, this was only the beginning, a template for an island-wide system UNICEF is setting up to trace families.

Ms. de la SOUDIERE: Ninety-five percent, if not more, of children that are separated in emergencies we can find an adult, a relative willing and able to care for that child, if only we take the time and the effort to find that person.

I. WILLIAMS: Sterling was soon drawing again, a passion that helped speed this little girl back to her family. Ian Williams, NBC News, Port-au-Prince.