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New Jersey Filipinos Watch Typhoon, Offer Help From Afar

Typhoon damage in the Phillipines
Typhoon damage in the Phillipines (GMA via YouTube)

New Jersey Filipinos watch with concern for thelr loved ones as a weakened Typhoon Haiyan headed for Vietnam after leaving central Philippines as possibly the deadliest natural disaster on record there.

A buckled bridge in the Phillipines
A buckled bridge in the Phillipines (ABS-CBN via YouTube)

In one town alone, officials say there could be as many as 10,000 people dead. In another, at least 300 people are confirmed dead as rescue efforts swing into high gear. Some areas remain unreachable and the damage is reported to be devastating.

The storm left corpses hanging from tree branches, scattered along sidewalks and among flattened buildings. In its aftermath, looters have raided grocery stores and gas stations in search of food, fuel and water.

The storm surge created a 20-foot wall of water and some areas still have not been reached because they are cut off by flooding and landslides.

It’s expected to take days to assess the storm’s full impact but the nation’s interior secretary says “all systems, all vestiges of modern living — communications, power, water — all are down.”

Turning To Social Media

 

Aerial view of damage on Bantayan Island
Aerial view of damage on Bantayan Island (ABC-CBN via YouTube)

Filipinos in New Jersey are worried about the status of their relatives as phone lines are out of service. “I really don’t know what’s going on over there. Anything can happen right? The wrath of nature is something very powerful that nobody can expect,” a Bergenfield man told CBS New York.

Many have had success communicating a message via Facebook and Twitter.

Regula Laborce told News 12 she is still worried about her family in the Phillipines. “I text them, but they did not answer,” she explained.

They are also trying to determine the best way to help out those affected by the typhoon. The American Red Cross, which always advises the best way to assist is via a financial donation, is accepting contributions via text by texting REDCROSS to 90999 and on their official website at RedCross.org.

Filipino news channel GMA has set up a person finder with Google to try to locate loved ones in the Phillipines.

Pope asks for prayer, aid for typhoon victims

 

Sunday morning
Sunday morning image of typhoon (NOAA)

Pope Francis has led tens of thousands of people at the Vatican in silent prayer for the victims of the typhoon that has ravaged the Philippines.

The pope told a crowd of pilgrims, tourists and Romans in St. Peter’s Square on Sunday that he wanted to assure the people of the Philippines and surrounding region that he feels close to them. He lamented the high toll of dead and the enormous damage, then requested silent prayer for “our brothers and sisters.” Francis also said: “let us try to get our concrete aid” to those suffering from the storm.

The Philippines has the largest number of Catholics in Asia, and Filipinos are one of Rome’s biggest immigrant communities.


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The Associated Press contributed to this report

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