Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Mum, I’m well, I’m well

Today, Tuesday, November 12, 2013, Page 4, HotNews
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By KENNETH CHENG,, Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Mum, I’m well, I’m well
PHOTO: Mum, I’m well, I’m well
Three Singaporean students, (from left) Eileen Heng, Alyssa Chee and Vanessa Chong, (right - Singapore's Ambassador to the Philippines, Hirubalan V P), lost contact with their families after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippine city of Tacloban where they were on a placement project through their Australian university.

They were found safe and well yesterday.

Three S’porean students in Tacloban found safe and well
Singapore — The three Singaporean students who had lost contact with their families for days in the typhoon-ravaged Philippine city of Tacloban have made contact and been flown safely to the capital Manila.

Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong — all aged 23 and final-year students at Flinders University in Australia — were working in Tacloban with the non-profit organisation, Volunteer for the Visayans, as part of a month-long university placement project.

They had left for Tacloban more than three weeks ago and were to return to Singapore on Nov 16. They had been uncontactable since last Friday morning, when Typhoon Haiyan made landfall and crippled communications.

In a statement yesterday, Flinders University’s Acting Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Parkin said the students had been found safe and well.

Ms Vanessa Chong’s sister, Amelia Chong, confirmed yesterday that her elder sister had contacted their mother. “My dearest sister Vanessa Chong has finally called mummy and she is ALIVE and safe in one piece. She is now in Tacloban Airport and is safe with the Singapore Civil Defence Force,” she wrote on her Facebook page.

Ms Chong’s mother, Mdm Lay Sim, said her daughter had called her using a phone that she had borrowed from the Americans at Tacloban airport. The call lasted less than a minute. “Mum, I’m well, I’m well. Can you get the Singapore authorities to get me out of here?” Ms Chong had said to her mother over the phone.

Mdm Lay Sim expects the students to return to Singapore today.

A cousin of Ms Alyssa Chee’s, Ms Goh Sing Yee, told TODAY that Ms Chee had telephoned her mother just before she boarded a plane at the Tacloban airport.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said: “The three Singaporean girls ... who were earlier uncontactable, have arrived safely in Manila, and were met by the staff of our Embassy. We hope to reunite the girls with their families as soon as possible.
By KENNETH CHENG,, Tuesday, October 12, 2013

Typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban in the Philippines
PHOTO: Typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban in the Philippines