PORT-AU-PRINCE: Rescuers on Wednesday dragged a Haitian girl alive from the rubble 15 days after a devastating quake, in a rare moment of joy for a country where victims still face a desperate shortage of aid.

A French search team saved 16-year-old Darlene Etienne after neighbours heard a voice in the

debris of a house in Port-au-Prince, ending what appeared to be the longest ordeal of any survivor so far following the January 12 disaster.

“She just said ‘thank you,’ she’s very weak, which suggests that

she’s been there for 15 days,” Commander Samuel Bernes of the rescue team told AFP. Col Michel Orcel, a doctor at the field hospital where Etienne was treated, said the girl was happy after her dramatic rescue.

“She is 16 years old, she is alive and she has her whole life ahead of her. She was speaking, she said she was happy,” Orcel said. “She was worried about her friends but we weren’t able to answer all her questions.” International rescue teams have saved around 135 people who were buried alive when the 7.0-magnitude quake laid waste to the capital and several other towns in the impoverished Caribbean nation.

The last was a 31-year-old man rescued by a US team on Tuesday, although he was thought to have been entombed by a powerful aftershock around two days after the initial tremor struck.