UW-Madison students headed home from Haiti - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UW-Madison students headed home from Haiti

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Five University of Wisconsin engineering students are back in the United States and on their way home.

The UW students were about 70 miles from Port Au Prince when the earthquake happened.

They only felt a tremor, but the impact is sure to last.

UW-Madison student Kyle Ankenbauer, a senior majoring in civil engineering, sat down with 27 News before his classmates' arrival home. He's also seen the poor infrastructure in Port Au Prince first hand.

Ankenbauer says, "We've had the experience to see Port Au Prince and how its constructed and organized and managed, and when I heard, I knew pretty quickly it was going to be a disaster."

Ankenbauer traveled to Haiti three times in the past couple years, as part of Engineers without Borders. It's the same mission five of his classmates were on when the earthquake struck. The five students were in Bayonnais, a rural town about 100 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake.

Ankenbauer says, "There's still concern of the effects of a massive destruction of a major city center like Port au Prince that can affect every community in the country."

The students have been working with Engineers Without Borders to help build a medical clinic in Bayonnais. Their direct mission is to use water to provide power for the clinic. They've already designed a solar powering system, which likely helped provide the Internet needed to generate a message for family and friends on their blog, letting them know they were okay.

Yet Kyle fears not everyone working with the project.. survived.

Kyle adds, "We have multiple nurses and doctors educated right now, and two journalists.. educated in Port au Prince. We haven't been able to contact them since the earthquake."

Yet they have contacted five students from Wisconsin now heading back to Madison.

And they say they want to continue their project, for a community where the need is immense.

For more information on the Haiti Project through Engineers Without Borders, or how to donate to their project, click on the links to the left of this story.

Online Reporter: Teresa Mackin

Email Teresa at tmackin@wkowtv.com

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