Embassy not giving up on missing Filipinos in NZ quake

February 24, 2011 11:58 am 

By Gloria Jane Baylon

MANILA, Feb. 24 — Officials of the Philippine embassy in Wellington, New Zealand have arrived in devastated Christchurch City, where a number of Filipinos were reported to have been trapped in quake-toppled buildings and are still missing, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Thursday.

As the embassy team, led by Charge d’affaires Attorney Gionvannu Palec, met with police and rescue authorities and Red Cross officials, he emphasized "the necessity to continue the search and rescue (SAR) efforts for our missing nationals,” DFA spokesperson Eduardo Malaya said.

Given that text messages were sent by the missing individuals and their friends of being trapped in the rubble to their relatives in the Philippines at the early hours of the earthquake of 6.3-magnitude on Tuesday, there is urgency in finding them, Malaya added.

The DFA has identified only one casualty of the tragedy, a Jay Payot who sustained injuries to his arms.

Five other Filipinos, believed to be students and were inside the toppled CTV building, have not been found — particularly since SAR efforts were stopped momentarily because of the danger of buildings crumbling down further.

The embassy team will also make an accounting of the 2,000-strong Filipino community in the city. (PNA)

DCT/LDV/GJB

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