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MIRACLE IN TACLOBAN: Baby born amidst typhoon wreckage

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 13th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

It's important to recognize that life can flourish in the midst of widespread death. A baby girl has been born in the typhoon ravaged Filipino town of Tacloban, providing a glimmer of hope among the death and destruction.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The child was born at the airport in Tacloban. Cheers rang out when 21-year-old Emily Ortega gave birth to healthy baby Bea Joy Sagales at an emergency clinic.

Officials say she was in an evacuation center when the Typhoon Haiyan hit last week, flooding Tacloban. Having to swim and cling to a post in order to survive, Ortega's husband was in the safety of the capital Manila, which is about 360 miles northwest of Tacloban. He's still unaware of what happened.

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The baby was named after her grandmother Beatrice, who remained missing Monday.

Bea Joy Sagales is one of the lucky ones. In the chapel of the only functioning public hospital left in Tacloban, seven tiny, premature babies are being looked over by their anxious mothers.

An eighth child, born two days after Typhoon Haiyan, is kept alive only by his exhausted grandmother who pumps air by hand into his sick lungs. Only one baby, his face bruised purple from a hurried delivery by forceps, is strong enough to cry.

The other babies are unusually quiet as they battle to survive in a hospital without power, clean water, and running out of essential medical supplies. The storm destroyed all but two hospitals in Tacloban, one of them private.

"Our immediate problems are immense," Dr. Alberto de Leon, the 62-year-old director of the hospital, the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center says. The doctor said he nearly lost his own life in the surge of ocean water that accompanied Haiyan.

Caught unawares by the wall of water that engulfed the city of 220,000 on Friday, he clung to a refrigerator as the living room of his single-story home filled almost to the ceiling.

Urgent needs are listed on a makeshift sign: a generator, drinking water, oxygen, cooking gas, medicine and manpower.

A single gasoline-fueled generator is the only source of power, leaving patients to sweat in dark corridors as they await treatment.

A birth foretold: click here to learn more!

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