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article imageReport: Filipino students trapped inside building in New Zealand

By Leo Reyes     Feb 23, 2011 in Environment
Relatives of one of the Filipino victims of New Zealand earthquake tragedy are appealing to New Zealand authorities not to abandon their search and rescue efforts because they believe a family member is still alive.
One of the earthquake victims was able to contact her mother who is in Australia via cellphone text message which says:
“Ma, we’re trapped at CTV building. We need help, please rescue us.”
The caller, Rhrea Mae Sumalpong is one of the six Filipinos who were trapped inside the collapsed building of the Canterbury Television in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Dr.Ethel Uy, who is the sister of Rhrea Mae' mother based in Cebu Phlippines, said, “My niece will be getting her working visa this Friday, and she will be taking the New Zealand nursing board exam on March 13,” Uy told Inquirer Wednesday.
She identified five others are Emmanuel Anoba of Minglanilla town, John Kristoffer Chua of Lapu-Lapu City, Ezra Mae Medalle, Jessie Llyod Redoble and Jewel Francisco. Uy said they tried to call Rhea Mae's cellular phone but she could no longer be contacted despite several attempts.
But one nurse in Rhea Mae's group sent a text message to their housemate in New Zealand, informing them about Sumalpong's condition, she added. The text message was forwarded to Uy, which read: “Her [Sumalpong's] legs are totally numb, she couldn’t feel any pain.”
Dr. Uy has sought the assistance of the Department of Foreign Afffairs in the Philippines and urged the government to inform New Zealand authorities about the information on the status of her niece and her companions.
It was reported earlier the rescue team at the fallen CTV building has abandoned their rescue mission saying there were no sign of life inside the building.
“We’re hoping for the best for Rhea and the rest of the group. Based on the news, rescuers withdrew already and that authorities declared that there’s no signs of life at the CTV building. We are praying to God for miracle. Our wish is to have our niece body back, but of course nothing is impossible with miracle,” Dr. Uy said.
Digital Journal's Paul Wallis has reported 200-300 people are still missing and rescue work on CTV building has already been called off.
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