Imagine sitting by the phone, waiting for it to ring so you can hear from family members on the other side of world. The news is running footage of a typhoon destroying the Philippines and anxiety builds inside of you because you fear the worst may be yet to come.
The fear of losing family members is on the minds of Filipino Canadians across the country as they witness the destruction of super storm Typhoon Haiyan.
For Lori (due to the severity of the story and to protect her family, we chose not to disclose her full name), a twenty-five year old Filipina-Canadian, Typhoon Haiyan has hit close to home.
Born in Manila, Philippines, she recalls traveling to Tacloban Airport to visit her hometown of Samar. Her family is from Catbalogan, one hour away from Tacloban.
The severity of the situation did not hit her until she went to her grandmothers’ house to speak with her. On Friday, Nov. 8 Lori’s grandmother was the first person in the family to receive the news.
It was not until Saturday, Nov. 9 that Lori found out her family was affected by the Typhoon.
There is disbelief and sadness in Lori’s voice as she spoke about her missing family members.
“My aunt is still missing and my eleven year old cousin’s body was found floating in his home. It’s just tough seeing how it’s affecting my grandmother and mom. We’ve spent all weekend trying to contact everyone back home,” said Lori.
She recalls another story of her grandmother’s sister, who took refuge on the roof of her house.
Since the typhoon, communication has been very difficult. She says her family still has not received the full story because her grandmother’s sister is still trying to evacuate.
“What hit me the hardest was realizing that I had my missing aunt on Facebook and seeing pictures of her son,” she said.
According to World Vision, approximately 10 000 people are dead and over 600 000 people are displaced. The Filipino government has confirmed that over 2200 people are dead however, the death toll may be higher in rural regions.
“Our first task is to provide people with food, water and essential life needs. ” said Rachel Logel Carmichael, team leader in Humanitarian and Emergency Affairs for World Vision.
“We will ensure that local Filipino team has what they need,” she said.
World Vision is providing aid to the Philippines and focusing its efforts on providing emergency shelters. There is still rain and the elements from which people need to be protected she said.
According to CBC, the Canadian government is donating 5 million dollars to support humanitarian efforts. Additionally, the government has offered to match all private donations made.