REAL, Philippines – Rescuers pulled four survivors Thursday from a building that collapsed in mudslides 10 days ago, while the death toll from devastating storms in the Philippines' northeast rose to 842. More than 750 people are missing.
The four survived by drinking "any kind of liquid that dripped" through the rubble under which they were buried, said Maria Tamares, 49, who was rescued along with her 3-year-old granddaughter and two 14-year-old boys in Real, about 40 miles east of Manila (search).
Tamares said a male relative died beside her, pleading for water, on the third day.
As rescue crews continued to pick their way through debris, the Office of Civil Defense (search) raised the number of confirmed deaths from the storms by 102 to 842. It said 751 people were still missing.
"We felt like we were entombed between heaven and earth," she told The Associated Press by telephone. "There was nothing but darkness. I thought our time had come."
Tamares and the others had apparently been trapped in the kitchen of a two-story building that was buried under piles of mud Nov. 29, when the worst of two back-to-back storms battered the region.
"We will continue our recovery efforts until in our judgment those that we have to recover have all been recovered," said the military's Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Efren Abu.
About 40 miners volunteering in the Real search heard voices in the rubble of the building and used sledgehammers, torches, hacksaws and bolt cutters to punch a hole through the thick concrete roof to reach the survivors.
In the town of Infanta, near Real, two U.S. military helicopters delivered relief supplies and picked up evacuees.
"After waking up one time, we heard some pounding above us and we yelled, 'Help us, help us, we're alive in here,' and they found us," Tamares said from her bed at a military hospital in nearby Lucena. "It was a miracle. Thank God he gave us a second life."
She said she and the others perspired profusely in the extreme heat of the tiny, dark crevice. They had nothing to eat and moistened their parched lips with wet earth.
"We never expected any survivors from the ruins," army Capt. Gerry Sultana said. "After three days of digging, we had only found decomposing bodies."
President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (search) flew to Lucena later Thursday to comfort the four survivors.
"Thank God you survived. It's a miracle," she told Tamares.