Filipina found alive after 3 days under quake rubble

Julieva Benlingan with her Turkish wards. Contributed photo

(UPDATE) A TEAM from the Philippine Embassy in Turkey on Tuesday visited in the hospital a Filipina earthquake survivor who was rescued after three days under the rubble from a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Turkey and Syria last week.

The Philippine Embassy, on Facebook, said its Mersin-based team checked on the condition of Juliva Benlingan, 33, a native of Lagawe, Ifugao, who was previously reported missing.

According to her sister Maribel, Benlingan sustained wounds on her face, head and feet, and was dehydrated when rescued.

‌”As she recovers well at an Adana hospital, she thanked God for a second chance at life and the embassy for their well wishes,” the embassy said.

The team provided Benlingan with financial assistance and gave her doctors and nurses “tokens of our appreciation.”

Maribel said Juliva, mother to a 12-year-old girl, endured 60 hours under the rubble of a collapsed building before she was rescued.

In its continuous evaluation on the ground, the Philippine Embassy said it is “focusing on management of its resource1s toward the welfare, recovery and return to normalcy of Filipino evacuees.”

Displaced Filipinos continue to arrive at the shelter in Ankara, transported by the embassy and on their own volition, it added.

The embassy said its team in Mersin “is also in contact with a set of volunteers from the hospitality industry who have offered to provide food assistance to Filipino-Turkish families who chose to remain in Antakya and to [the] Philippine humanitarian contingent in Adiyaman province.”

“We deeply appreciate the charity of kababayan (fellow Filipinos) and our Turkish brethren,” it added.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) also on Tuesday said it will repatriate the remains of one of the two Filipinas who died in the devastating 7.8-magnitude earthquake in Turkey.

DFA acting Undersecretary for Migrant Workers Affairs Eduardo Jose de Vega said the Philippine government will also repatriate other Filipino survivors who wish to return home.

The Filipina fatality was already buried in Turkey based on the decision of her Turkish husband, de Vega said during a Laging Handa press briefing.

He, however, added that Filipinos who are already citizens of Turkey, being married to Turks, should first re-acquire their Filipino citizenship to qualify for repatriation.

“Some of them are already Turkish citizens. They need to re-acquire [first] their [Filipino] citizenship under Republic Act 9225 to avail [of the repatriation service],” de Vega said in Filipino.

“So, madali po 'yan (So, it's easy). Kung magagawa natin (If we can do [that] within the next several days, dapat magsisiuwian na 'yan (they would be expected to come home),” he added.

De Vega noted that there are about 248 Filipinos who were affected by the earthquake, with 64 of them staying at a temporary shelter in the country's capital Ankara.

On the other hand, 70 others sought financial assistance from the embassy, he said.

De Vega added that there is no definite schedule yet on the repatriation of the distressed Filipinos and the body of the Filipina fatality.

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