> Nursing News > Filipino kin still full of hope; NZ rescuers give up search

Filipino kin still full of hope; NZ rescuers give up search

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—Families of Cebuano nurses buried in the quake’s rubble could not accept the announcement that there were no more survivors.

Dr. Ethel Uy, aunt of nurse Rhea Mae Sumalpong, said the family still believed she is alive. But rescuers officially gave up hope of finding more survivors of New Zealand’s devastating earthquake, saying on Thursday that no one trapped in rubble when the disaster struck nine days earlier could still be alive.


The news was a blow to the families of around 200 people—including 11 Filipinos—listed as missing, many of whom clung to faltering hopes for good news despite more than a week of silence from beneath the piles of debris that still litter the city of Christchurch.

“It is with sadness that the Department of Foreign Affairs learned from the New Zealand civil defense office that there is no more chance at this time of finding survivors,” the DFA said in a statement Thursday night.

“We are guided by the pronouncement of local authorities on this matter,” said the DFA’s spokesperson, Assistant Secretary J. Eduardo Malaya.

“We are facilitating the submission of dental records, fingerprints and other materials that will hasten the process of the identification of the remains.”

The DFA “conveys its deepest condolences to the bereaved families on the loss of their loved ones,” Malaya said.

‘Nothing impossible’

“We’ve prayed for a miracle from God, it’s all up to God,” Uy told the Associated Press by phone. “If that’s Rhea’s fate, our wish is for her remains to be brought back to us. We want to give her a proper burial.”

“No, I can’t accept it,” said Aprille Marie Anoba, younger sister of Emmabelle Anoba, who is also missing.

Need to face reality

Rhea Mae of Naga City in Cebu and Emmabelle of Minglanilla town, also in Cebu, were among the Filipinos attending an English language review course at King’s Education Ltd., which was on the third floor of the collapsed Canterbury Television (CTV) building.

As of Thursday, the death toll in the earthquake stood at 161.

“We now face the reality that there is no chance anyone could have survived this long,” John Hamilton, national controller of New Zealand’s Civil Defense Emergency Management, told a news conference on Thursday.

“Sadly, there comes a point where the response effort shifts in focus from rescue to body recovery,” Hamilton said. “We have now reached that point.”

Read the rest of the story at inquirer.net

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