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Miracle baby: Girl born at airport after pregnant typhoon victim swims for her life

New-born baby Bea Joy is held as mother Emily Ortega, 21, rests after giving birth at an improvised clinic at Tacloban airport on Monday. Bullit Marquez / AP

A baby girl was born at the airport in the typhoon-devastated city of Tacloban on Monday, providing a glimmer of hope amid widespread destruction.

Cheers rang out when Emily Ortega, 21, gave birth to healthy baby Bea Joy Sagales at an emergency clinic in the ruined airport.

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Ortega was in an evacuation center when the Typhoon Haiyan hit on Friday, flooding Tacloban. She had to swim and cling to a post to survive, according to The Associated Press.

The baby was named after her grandmother Beatrice, who remained missing Monday.

Ortega's husband was in the safety of the capital Manila, which is about 360 miles northwest of Tacloban. He did not know what had happened.

Tacloban's airport was all but destroyed as seawaters swept through the city, shattering the glass of its tower, leveling the terminal and overturning nearby vehicles. Airport manager Efren Nagrama, 47, told Reuters that water levels rose up to 13 feet.

Meanwhile, heartbreaking stories of personal loss began to emerge. Corpses were spotted hanging on on tree branches, buildings, and lay on sidewalks, The Associated Press reported.

High school teacher Bernadette Tenegra told how her daughter succumbed to the flood waters.

Tenegra, 44, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that her daughter said: "Ma, just let go. Save yourself," after her body was pierced with splinters from collapsed buildings.

“I was holding her and I kept telling her to hang on, that I was going to bring her up. But she just gave up,” Tenegra said.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on the grim task many people faced of checking corpses to find their relatives.

People tentatively checked the faces of the bodies, with two weeping teenage boys among those who found what they were looking for -- the body of their father, the newspaper reported Monday.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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