University: Singapore students in Philippines typhoon hit-zone found and safe

Vanessa Chong Yuting, (second from left), Alyssa Chee Pui Yee (third from left), Eileen Heng Mei Ting (right). The three Singaporean students who were in Tacloban, Phillipines, when a deadly typhoon hit are safe and have contacted their families.&nbs
Vanessa Chong Yuting, (second from left), Alyssa Chee Pui Yee (third from left), Eileen Heng Mei Ting (right). The three Singaporean students who were in Tacloban, Phillipines, when a deadly typhoon hit are safe and have contacted their families. -- PHOTO: FAMILY OF VANESSA CHONG

The three Singaporean students in Tacloban, Philippines, who were uncontactable over the weekend since Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the the city have been found and are safe, said their school.

In an official response to queries from The Straits Times, Flinders University Acting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Andrew Parkin said the school "is delighted that the three Flinders students who were in the typhoon-affected area of the Philippines have been found safe and well".

"We have been in regular contact with the families of the three students over the weekend. The University is investigating options to expedite the return of the students to their families in Singapore as soon as possible," he added.

The trio - Ms Eileen Heng, Ms Alyssa Chee and Ms Vanessa Chong - are all 23-year-old final-year Nutrition and Dietetics students at Flinders University, Australia.

They had flown to Tacloban on Oct 20 for a month-long school placement project under Flinders to work with a local nonprofit, Volunteer for the Visayans, tailoring projects to combat hunger and improve food security in the area. They had been scheduled to fly back on Nov 22, said Ms Chee's boyfriend, Mr Jeremy Liang.

In an email to Flinders students, the university's Dean of Medicine Professor Paul Worley said: "We have just received reliable news that they are safe and well, and arrangements are being made for their evacuation."

A separate email to students sent by the university's International Student Services Unit noted that the school had learnt of the information "at mid-morning on Monday, through the social media page of a staff member at Volunteers for Visayans".