Kiki thanks Sun readers for ‘saving his life’ after spending EIGHT days in rubble after Haiti’s devastating earthquake

SHOWING a smile almost as wide as his outstretched arms, the image of little Kiki Joachim being rescued from the rubble of the 2010 Haiti ­earthquake moved the world.

In a remarkable story of survival, the seven-year-old lad had been buried for EIGHT DAYS with no food or water in the ruins of his home, alongside the lifeless bodies of two brothers and a sister.


In 2010, the image of seven-year-old Kiki Joachim being rescued from the rubble after eight days moved the world[/caption]

Now Kiki is giving his heartfelt thanks to our army of generous readers who raised enough cash to fund his education and give him a second chance at life

The miraculous moment when rescuers pulled him free was caught on camera and beamed around the world.

Now The Sun on Sunday has tracked down Kiki, who gave his heartfelt thanks to you, our army of generous readers, for “saving his life” a second time after raising cash to fund his education.


He now plans to save others by training to ­become a doctor.

Kiki, 17, said: “Thank you to all of the Sun readers who helped to save my life.

“Without an education, God knows what would have happened to me and my brother.

“Thank you all from both of us. We are studying hard and it won’t be wasted, as we will help others and do good with our lives.

“I want to be a doctor. That’s because of what happened to me and my family. I know how lucky I am.”

Kiki told how he has spent the past decade rebuilding his life alongside the surviving members of his family, including his mum Garcia, 49.

More than 250,000 people died and a million children were orphaned when the tragedy struck on the afternoon of January 12, 2010.

Along with the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, it is the worst natural disaster in modern times.

I want to be a doctor. That’s because of what happened to me and my family. I know how lucky I am.

Kiki Joachim

The photo of Kiki’s rescue was used on the cover of The Sun’s 2010 Helping Haiti ­charity single Everybody Hurts, which spent two weeks at No1.

In the eight days before he was rescued, Kiki lay alongside the bodies of his sister Yeye, nine, and 18-month-old brother Didine, who both died instantly when their home collapsed.

Kiki and his other sister Sabrina ducked for cover under a table with their four-year-old brother Titite.

Kiki sang his brother nursery rhymes and chatted to comfort him but Titite died before ­rescuers reached them.

Sabrina, now 21, and another brother, David, now 16, who was playing outside when the magnitude-seven quake struck, both survived.

Scott Hornby – The Sun

Kiki’s story captured people’s hearts across the country, and the image of his rescue was used on the cover of our ­charity single Everybody Hurts[/caption]

Kiki’s miracle rescue featured on the front page of our paper as we launched our appeal for survivors
Tragically, Kiki lost two of his brothers and a sister in the earthquake, which is one the worst natural disasters in modern times
News Group Newspapers Ltd

News Group Newspapers Ltd

Their family home in the suburb of Nazon, in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, was destroyed so the family were forced to move to a village 80 miles away[/caption]

The family home in the suburb of Nazon, in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince, was destroyed — like all the others around it — leaving a 15ft pile of rubble.

Garcia managed to free herself but was unable to reach her children.

Recalling the quake, Kiki said: “I was doing my homework and there was a really loud noise.

“I didn’t know what it was, then our house fell on me. I was in darkness and couldn’t see anything but I started shouting to my brothers and sisters.

“I heard my mum as she managed to free herself and David was outside.


“I was lying down, buried. I couldn’t move my body and after a few days I was hurting all over, as I couldn’t move and couldn’t even sit.

“The only thing I was able to do was sleep and wake up. I lost two brothers and one of my sisters.

“After it happened, we were talking to my brother. But after a few days he didn’t answer any more.

“Before that I didn’t think I would die. But when he died, I remember thinking, ‘I’m going to die too’. It was dark.

“I had dust in my face, eyes and mouth and I didn’t have food. I can’t remember much but I do remember I was calling out for water.

“I don’t know how long it was but it was a long time.

“Then they found a little hole and put a piece of tube down to me.  They started pouring water down to me before they could free me.”

Kiki, who lost all concept of time while he was buried, added: “One day, the light opened up a bit and part of the rubble was pulled out. And there was a big hole.

“I saw the people who saved me outside. I was so happy and I lifted my arms into the air.

“I don’t remember saying anything to the rescuers but I remember everyone being so ­surprised.

“They were shocked to see me alive. Then I remember having an oxygen mask put on me.

Picture seen round the globe

THE image of Kiki Joachim, being plucked from the rubble of his home in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, starving and covered in dust, became a beacon of hope to a country decimated by the enormous earthquake.

After four hours of digging, a 20-strong rescue team including New York police and firefighters – punched through the layers of crushed concrete that entombed Kiki.

There, the boy had huddled with his sister next to the corpses of their other siblings for eight unimaginable days.

Some of the rescuers gained expertise amid the horrors of 9-11.

In the right of the picture above is the yellow hose down which water trickled to Kiki, who was suffering from extreme dehydration.

Kiki, then seven, greeted his mum – on the picture’s left – with outstretched arms and a broad grin. He later said: “I smiled because I was free. Because I was alive.”

His rescue caught made front pages around the world – including The Sun.

A host of top artists recorded R.E.M.’s Everybody Hurts for our charity single, with Kiki – dubbed an “icon of hope” – on the record’s sleeve.

Kiki has never met the heroes who rescued him but he promises he will never forget them
Now the teen says he plans to save others by training to ­become a doctor
He says it is thanks to the help of Sun readers that he has been able to rebuild his life alongside the surviving members of his family, including his mum Garcia

“I feel proud that my photo went around the world. It was a miracle as after eight days, it was only God that could help me to be alive.”

Kiki has never met the heroes who saved him but he promised he would never forget them. With emotion flickering across his face he said: “I want to thank all of those who saved me. Thank you.”

After the tragedy, Garcia moved the family to a village 80 miles away, as they had nothing.

Today they share their modest home with Kiki’s uncle Fefet, 56, and his great-aunts Tata, 67, and ­Elemise, 86.


Kiki said: “I was so sad to leave our home. I had friends and I’d gone to school there.

“But after ten years I’m getting ­better. I’m less sad. I’m trying to get to how I used to be.”

In the aftermath of the disaster, The Sun joined forces with British charity Bridge Of Hope, which funds the education of children across the developing world.

You chipped in with donations to help founder Lisa Yacoub fund the boys’ education at the National School of Lavanneau.

The charity also helps children in Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Zimbabwe and Kenya and sponsors a school that focuses on a vocational ­education, including plumbing and different trades, in Port-au-Prince.

Lisa said: “We rely completely on the generosity of the public to fund an education for the children we help.

“We are delighted to continue to help Kiki and David get an ­education but we are a tiny charity in urgent need of funds for this work to continue.

“Kiki still has four years to go before he completes his education. We are grateful to The Sun’s readers for helping us to change these children’s lives.

“We are committed to Haiti because well over half the population live on less than £1.85 a day, which is below the international poverty line.

“These kids really need our help. Without an education, their life would be difficult. They would face being destitute.

“It is awe-inspiring to witness the resilience of Kiki’s family, who are rebuilding their lives after such extraordinarily challenging circumstances.”

Kiki said: “I can now hope for a better future. I study very hard.

“I’m very happy to have an ­education because this is how I can become a stronger person and help my family and others. I would like to be a great doctor.

“I also enjoy music in my spare time and I play the guitar.”

His mum Garcia added: “Thank you all for helping my sons have a future. I hope God blesses you. We will never forget you.”

Scott Hornby – The Sun

The 2010 disaster destroyed up to 100,000 buildings and left millions homeless within the space of a minute[/caption]

AP:Associated Press

More than 250,000 people died and a million children were orphaned[/caption]

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