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BBC James Clayton
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BBC James Clayton
World News

Haitian mother mourns baby daughter killed after church collapses during christening ceremony

by Kelly Valencia

It has been confirmed that several children are among 22 people found dead under the rubble of a church in Haiti.

Immaculate Conception Parish church of Les Anglais suffered extensive damage to its façade after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit the country on 14th August.

Daphenka, and baby daughter Esther were among the people waiting inside the church for a christening ceremony to start when the tremor hit. 

At least a dozen children were due to be christened. 

Speaking to BBC reporter James Clayton, Daphenka said she tried to run out when the church started to shake while holding Esther tightly, but all the back exits were blocked with other people trying to flee. She then decided to try to leave through the front, but the church collapsed before she could get out. 

Daphenka survived and is recovering from injuries to her head, back and legs. However, her daughter Esther unfortunately died in her arms. 

"Esther, I loved her very much and we were attached. I never went out without her. She was always in my arms, we were one. 

"Saturday, I went out with the baby. We went out as two and I came back alone. I'll never forget her. I loved her very much," Daphenka told the reporter. 

The earthquake also caused the collapse of the bishop's residence in Les Cayes, killing Father Emile Beldor and injuring Cardinal Chibly Langlois. Father Jean-Antoine Coulanges is also missing, according to news outlet Crux.

Residents considered the church "the heart of the community" and fear it may never be rebuilt. 

Local resident Occil told Mr Clayton: "I always ask myself 'Does God exist?' because we keep getting hit by all these natural disasters. But I believed in God, we've been hit three times by major natural disasters. I've gone through these three natural disasters, and I've never even gotten a head scratch."

The earthquake has so far left more than 2,000 dead, 344 missing and 12,000 injured.

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