BOHOL - A powerful earthquake that struck the central Philippines had forced an expecting mother to give birth few weeks early.
Eileen Rose Carabana had given birth to a healthy baby boy right after a strong earthquake that collapsed buildings and killed more than 171 people on Tuesday.
The 19-year-old mother had to hike down from her mountainous village and go through landslides and muddy roads to reach the hospital.
The quake had damaged the nearest hospital and doctors had to evacuate all the patients outside for safety, and all medical procedures were done inside tents.
Hospital administrator Menelo Guibao says Carabana's delivery had been difficult due to the environmental and physical conditions.
"Her height was only about 4 (feet) 5 (inches) and small, so we identified her as high risk. Right now the roads leading to the tertiary hospital are impassable so we have to do everything we can," he recounted.
Despite encountering difficulties, the delivery had been a success, Guibao says.
Carabana is now safely residing back at her village along with her newborn baby, James Lyndon.
The newborn was Carabana's first child and all she could do during her delivery was to pray for her child's safety.
"All I can feel was fear, anxiety on my chest and pain," she says.
The mother and child are temporarily staying inside a tent near the foot of the mountainous village and will go back to their home once Carabana recovers. She's also waiting for her husband to come back over the weekend and see his newborn son.
The national disaster agency reported more than 374 injured during Tuesday's quake, with more than 20,000 families affected and residing at temporary evacuation shelters in Cebu and Bohol.
Most of the fatalities were in Bohol Island where the epicenter was located with at least 159 people dead, along with 11 from Cebu and one from Siquijor Island, officials said.
The government has declared a state of calamity in Cebu and Bohol.
Delivery of relief goods have been slow but ongoing as some had to airlift food and medical supplies to isolated villages, officials said.
President Benigno Aquino, who inspected the damages in Bohol and Cebu on Wednesday, said the national government will help rebuild the destruction caused by the earthquake.
Damage to infrastructure, mostly roads and bridges, was initially estimated at about P179.15 million, a public works official said.