MANILA -- Three Filipinos are missing after a magnitude 7.8 quake struck Turkey and Syria, a leader of the Filipino community said Wednesday.
"Unfortunately may tatlong Pilipinang missing doon sa Hatay, isa sa mga 11 provinces na affected ng 2 lindol na naganap dito sa amin. Unfortunately kasama doon sa 3 Pilipina, meron ding tatlong bata," said Weng Timoteo, vice president of the Filipino Community in Turkey.
She said she is still praying for signs of life from the 3 missing Filipinas.
"Yung Pilipinang kausap ko ngayon lang, sinabi niya na gumuho talaga yung bahay nung kaibigan niya doon na may 3 anak," she noted.
"Tapos meron pang 2 Pilipina na this morning pa namin hinahanap kasi apparently, yung isa a mga Pilipina na yun, sinabi nung amo na namatay na raw. Pero hindi pa namin naco-confirm."
"Until 3 hours ago I connected to the close friend of that so called patay na PIlipina na, and she believed na hindi pa raw patay ang kaibigan niya. So she started to cry nung kinakausap ko siya sa phone and I told her importante kako siya ligtas siya, nakaalis na siya doon sa affected place, ngayon nakalipat na sila nung amo niya sa Antalya," she said.
Timoteo said communication with people in the affected areas of Turkey is hard.
"Like itong close friend nitong sinasabing patay na na Pilipina, antagal ko siyang cino-contact, like I think 20, 30 times ko siyang cinocontact kanina, I managed to talk to her once, nagkausap lang kami ng 2,3 minutes, because I really wanted to check with her kung talaga ngang patay na yung kababayan namin. So naputol," she lamented.
She also said the Turkish government is doing everything it can to help its affected citizens.
"Pero the fact remains na talagang may mga areas na hindi naabot ng search and rescue team dahil nga masyadong sira yung mga daan and as you all know yung mga airports din dito affected ‘no."
"At may mga hospital establishments din na nag-collapse din," she added.
The Philippines will deploy a team of disaster response specialists and healthcare workers to help with search and rescue operations in Turkey.
"Ang earliest possible po is this evening na ang alis nila, so via commercial flight ng Turkish Airlines...wala pong gagastusin ang gobyerno natin papunta sa Turkey," said Diego Agustin Mariano of the Office of Civil Defense.
He noted that the Philippine rescue and medical teams will be there for 14 days, but their stay may be extended to one month.
As of posting, the death toll from the earthquake has exceeded more than 7,800 people. With Agence France-Presse
--TeleRadyo, 8 February 2023