Maria Tamares constantly feared that the tiny, pitch-black crevice under tons of mud and logs would be her grave and that of her 3-year-old granddaughter and three others...
MANILA, Philippines Maria Tamares constantly feared that the tiny, pitch-black crevice under tons of mud and logs would be her grave and that of her 3-year-old granddaughter and three others trapped for 10 days under storm-loosened rubble.
One person died beside Tamares, pleading for water. The dirty trickle that at first found its way through the cracks quickly dried up, forcing the survivors to lick the ground and a moist concrete slab.
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Then, just when death seemed imminent, they heard tapping above them and yelled for help.
In a rescue seen by many as a miracle, soldiers and villagers yesterday pulled Tamares, her granddaughter and two neighbors from the debris of a two-story building buried under landslides that followed storms and a typhoon that raged through the northeastern Philippines last week, killing at least 842 people.
The discovery of Tamares, 49, and the other stunned survivors all severely dehydrated but suffering only minor bruises stirred hope that others of the more than 750 missing could be found alive.
“We prayed and prayed and prayed. We felt like we were entombed between heaven and Earth,” Tamares said by telephone from her hospital bed in Lucena, where the survivors were brought by helicopter after being extricated from the rubble in the town of Real, 40 miles east of Manila.