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The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) confirmed Sunday that a 12-year-old Filipina-Singaporean was one of those who perished in the 6.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Sabah on Friday.
In a statement, DFA spokesman Charles Jose said the girl was identified as Karyl Mitzi Higuit Matahom, who was born to a Filipino mother and a Singaporean father.
“The Philippine embassy received information that the girl, who resides in Singapore, was in Sabah as part of her Singaporean school’s educational tour of the area,” Jose said.
He said the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur immediately sent vice consul Francis Herrera to coordinate with Singaporean authorities “with respect to the disposition of Ms. Matahom’s remains.”
The 6.0-magnitude quake struck early Friday near the picturesque mountain, a popular tourist destination, sending landslides and huge granite boulders tumbling down from its wide, 4,095-meter-high crown.
“There are 13 (dead) bodies. Two yesterday and 11 today. We’ve got six people still missing. I cannot confirm with you where they are from,” Mohammad Farhan Lee Abdullah, police chief of the town of Ranau near the mountain, told AFP on Saturday.
Malaysian media reports have said the dead included members of a Singapore primary school group on an excursion to the mountain, including another 12-year-old girl as well as a local Malaysian climbing guide.
“It’s very sad. The Singapore children were so happy when they arrived here, but now…” Masidi Manjun, tourism minister for the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo island, told reporters.
Rescuers earlier on Saturday finished escorting down to safety 137 hikers who were stuck on the mountain for up to 18 hours after the quake damaged a key trail and they faced the threat of continuing rockfalls.
Crews and officials engaged in further search and rescue efforts were kept on edge, however, by aftershocks including a Saturday afternoon temblor that Malaysian officials rated at 4.5-magnitude. It sent staff and journalists scurrying out of the park’s headquarters.
Reports said most people on the mountain when the quake hit were Malaysian but that they also included hikers from Singapore, the United States, the Philippines, Britain, Thailand, Turkey, China and Japan. —with Agence France-Presse
This article has been re-published with permission from ABS-CBNnews.com.
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