The mud slide disaster in Leyte Island in the Philippines has presented rescuers with the most daunting, frustrating and heartbreaking challenge. They are focusing on the rescue of over 200 school children and around 40 teachers trapped in a school buried under 10 metres of soft squashy mud, although deep in their hearts they know it may well be a futile effort.
The children and teachers had been sending desperate SMS messages imploring for help. One teacher SMS-ed her mother: "We're still in one room, alive." Another from a pupil read: "We are alive. Dig us out."
But the SMS messaging stopped late Friday. Let’s hope it’s only the phones’ batteries or some kind of transmission problems.
Filipino Congressman Roger Mercado claimed on Sunday that rescuers have reached the rooftop of the school building, and that they would continue digging and listening for any sounds beneath. But the subsequent lack of progress report diminished hopes of finding anyone alive in the school.
With storms approaching in the next 48 hours, the rain will make rescue operations even more difficult, if not impossible.
Already the Philippines government has been talking of a Memorial over the buried village to mark the mass grave beneath.