Text Messages From Filipinos Buried Alive By Landslide
forwarded text message from the dead: ‘Ma’am, we are still under the school. Please help us, ma’am. This is Edilio Coquilla. Please ma’am.’
Rescuers in the central Philippines are battling against time to try to unearth an elementary school where 206 children and 40 teachers are buried alive by a landslide. President Gloria Arroyo told an emergency briefing that children and teachers have been sending text messages calling for help from their tomb.
The school is a focus of the rescue effort in a poor farming village in Leyte island, which was flattened when the side of a mountain crashed on it after days of heavy rain. Officials say at least 1,400 people and possibly up to 3,000 are missing. Miners with specialist equipment are among emergency crews and supplies rushing to the disaster scene. Rescue workers are trying to dig through at least 30 metres of mud and rocks, but they are threatened by fresh landslides and heavy equipment can't cope with the mud, so everything must be done by hand.