PICTURES, VIDEO

Three Singaporeans stranded by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines safely home

Family and friends of Ms Vanessa Chong (third from left) pose for a group photograph as she returned home to Singapore from Manila on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Family and friends of Ms Vanessa Chong (third from left) pose for a group photograph as she returned home to Singapore from Manila on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Nine-year-old Kok Mei Fang stares at a handwritten note by her sister Kok Mei Xuan (not pictured), 10, to welcome their relative Ms Alyssa Chee back home on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Nine-year-old Kok Mei Fang stares at a handwritten note by her sister Kok Mei Xuan (not pictured), 10, to welcome their relative Ms Alyssa Chee back home on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Alyssa Chee wipes her tears during a media interview as her boyfriend (right) looks on by her side on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Alyssa Chee wipes her tears during a media interview as her boyfriend (right) looks on by her side on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The boyfriend of Ms Alyssa Chee holds her during a media interview with journalists after she arrives at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The boyfriend of Ms Alyssa Chee holds her during a media interview with journalists after she arrives at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Vanessa Chong hugs Ms Alyssa Chee (in green) as they bid each other farewell after they arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Vanessa Chong hugs Ms Alyssa Chee (in green) as they bid each other farewell after they arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Eileen Heng, 23, gets a hug from her friends as she arrives at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
Ms Eileen Heng, 23, gets a hug from her friends as she arrives at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The family and loved ones of Ms Eileen Heng, 23, give her a hug upon her return to Singapore on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
The family and loved ones of Ms Eileen Heng, 23, give her a hug upon her return to Singapore on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
(From right) Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Vanessa Chong, and Ms Alyssa Chee pose for a group photograph for the media after they arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
(From right) Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Vanessa Chong, and Ms Alyssa Chee pose for a group photograph for the media after they arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN
(From right) Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. The three young women were greeted with flowers, balloons, and tearful hugs from friends and family who, just a day ago, wer
(From right) Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong arrive at Changi Airport on Tuesday, Nov 12, 2013. The three young women were greeted with flowers, balloons, and tearful hugs from friends and family who, just a day ago, were not sure if Super Typhoon Haiyan had claimed the trio's lives. -- ST PHOTO: NEO XIAOBIN

The three young women were greeted with flowers, balloons, and tearful hugs from friends and family who, just a day ago, were not sure if Super Typhoon Haiyan had claimed the trio's lives.

Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong - all 23-year-old final-year nutrition and dietetics students at Flinders University, Australia - had flown to Tacloban on Oct 20 for a month-long school placement project. They were working with a local non-profit agency, Volunteer for the Visayans, tailoring projects to combat hunger and improve food security in the area, when the deadly storm hit the city.

They finally returned to Singapore on Tuesday evening after a harrowing three days in the disaster-stricken Filipino city, and were warmly welcomed by an emotional and relieved group of some 50 relatives and friends.

"We are just thankful to the many people who helped us and are glad to be back," said Ms Chee. "But there are still many people in Tacloban who really need all the help that they can get. Three of us were really blessed because we came out with just some scratches, but many people have died, they have drowned, they've lost their families, they've lost everything."