NURSES based at Southend Hospital have told of their heartache at seeing their relatives suffer following a devastating earthquake in the Philippines.

Sarah Sagosoy, staff nurse on Gordon Hopkins ward, Maria Asuncion Fontanilla, healthcare assistant on the medical assessment unit and Hazel Pondoc, a theatre staff nurse all come from villages struck by the quake, which has killed more than 200 people and injured 700.

The 7.2 magnitude quake destroyed parts of their family homes on Bohol Island and left their relatives homeless. A campaign has now been launched on the Sita Lumsden ward, the critical care unit, to send out old summer clothes, shoes and slippers for those affected by the disaster.

Maria lost her two cousins in the earthquake and her parents, Cornelio, 68, and Beinvinidat Grandeaderos, 78, now live in a tent as their house is too damaged to stay in.

She said: “I’m thankful my parents are safe, but saddened about the loss of lives of so many people.

“No one has been allowed to go back to their houses.

“Most of the houses have been knocked down anyway but those still standing are full of rubbish.

“My father is in a wheelchair.

There have been aftershocks every day which only stopped two days ago and there has been very heavy rain.

“It has been very difficult for them.”

Lani Harper, staff nurse on Sita Lumsden ward, said: “The upper floor of Sarah’s family home has collapsed, but her parents have chosen to remain there as they have nowhere else to go.

They sleep near the front door in fear of the whole house collapsing.

“When I asked how her family were, she told me about the damage, but said she is just glad they survived and that whatever is broken can be mended.

“She has donated a sack of rice to her village as food is very scarce.

“That sums up the kind of nurse Sarah is. In spite of her hardships, she still thinks of those less fortunate than her.”

To help the campaign and make a donation to the clothes bank call Maria on 07771 923308.