Saturday, Mar 8, 2014
Typhoon Haiyan Strikes the Hearts of Filipinos in Southern Illinois
WSIL -- Two Americans are among the dead in the Philippines after that massive typhoon this past weekend. The disaster is playing out on the other side of the world, but it hits home for Filipinos here in southern Illinois.
Supplies have already flooded into the region, but some victims in remote cities say they are still without desperately needed food and water. The United Nations is calling for an additional $300 million to fund relief efforts.
For those who have family and friends in the Philippines, the aftermath of the typhoon has been extremely hard to watch from thousands of miles away.
But efforts are already underway in our region to send supplies and support.
"It's really devastating," said SIU professor Raymund Narag.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Narag says storms are nothing new to the islands. "The Philippines is struck with probably 20-25 storms every year," he insisted.
But his country wasn't prepared for the storm surge that came rolling in Friday with winds of of more than 170 miles an hour.
Narag's family is okay, but based on conversations he's had since the storm, he's frustrated with the Filipino government. The people were given a two day warning, but they weren't aware of the magnitude.
"They never instructed them to immediately go to higher grounds or to immediately seek shelter in these areas that have been designated as storm shelters," he explained.
In Marion, Barb Segretario is constantly checking on the family she usually hears from every day in the Philippines.
"My cousin Mario did have enough warning to get to the other side of the island, which is what he did and why we were not able to contact him for so long because he had to make his way back," she explained.
She says it's frustrating, because there's not much she can do for her home country. But if everybody steps in, a little bit will make a big difference in a city that now has to start from scratch.
"If people will just open up their hearts and give, even if it's just a dollar, a dollar will go a long way," Segretario insisted. "The people of Tacloban really do need it."
Narag says he plans to organize a fundraiser on the SIU campus in the coming days to help those hurting.
"We hope that we can gather any amount and at least we could send it to the Filipino Red Cross or any other organizations that are doing relief efforts," he added.
Wind: 12 MPH
Humidity: 107 %