DISTRAUGHT Mrs Ho Kwai-ho yesterday vowed to raise her five grandchildren, orphaned at the weekend when their parents drowned, even though she had barely enough money to support herself. With only $1,600 found on her dead son's fishing boat, Mrs Ho, 73, said she was not going to let the family disintegrate. Her son, Mr Ip Kam-yau, 41, and his wife died when they sailed off to catch shrimps in the waters near Zhuhai on Saturday. Mr Ip went missing after he failed in an attempt to save his wife, Mrs Ip Ng Kwai-ho, 34, who tripped and fell overboard. The couple left five children - a son and four daughters aged between two and 12. Mrs Ho said the fishing boat was bought with a loan two years ago and would have to be sold to pay it off, but said she would not be separated from the children. ''I'm not going to give up these little kids who are poor enough with the loss of their parents,'' she said after meeting Social Welfare Department officials. ''I will do everything I can to raise them, I want to see every one of them grow up in good health.'' Two-year-old Ip Mei-ling, who was on the fishing boat when the accident occurred, had been due to start school in September. But relatives said yesterday they were too confused and distressed to decide what to do now. Mrs Ho's decision was supported by her daughter Miss Ip Ah-mui, younger sister of Mr Ip, who believed the old woman had the strength to take care of the children. ''The kids are very obedient and my mother is in good health. Besides, I live near them and can help any time after work,'' she said. The Social Welfare Department was also convinced Mrs Ho had the ability to take care of the children. Two social workers from the outreach team at the Butterfly Family Service Centre in Tuen Mun visited the family yesterday to see what help they required. Miss Roberta Chan Mun-yee, principal information officer at the department, said the social workers offered to take the children into care during their visit yesterday. ''But we found that Mrs Ho is quite healthy and we respect her decision,'' she said. The Social Welfare Department is identifying the needs of the family and pledged to give help as soon as possible. Miss Chan said the family was eligible for public assistance and some one-off funding to relieve the immediate financial pressure following the death of the couple. The Public Assistance Scheme will cover numerous family expenses including the children's schooling and nursery fees. Relatives continued a search for the body of Mr Ip yesterday. Miss Ip said some fishermen claimed they had seen the body in the Macau waters but searches had failed. Today, the Macau authorities will carry out a post mortem examination of Mrs Ip's body, which was found on Sunday.