Families await news after killer typhoon slams the Philippines


Minnesotans with connections to the Philippines are awaiting word on loved ones following Typhoon Hiayan, a powerful storm that leveled scores of homes and buildings.

KARE 11 reported that some of them gathered at the Philippine Center of Minnesota. The Maplewood center estimates more than 15,000 Filipinos are living in Minnesota. Many are frustrated by the spotty communications with the storm-ravaged region.

"We can't sleep. It's like we're left hanging," Josephine Fernandez told the station. The Minnesota woman hasn't been able to contact her family and is scouring social media in a search for updates. "Is my Mom alive? Is my sister alive, you know? Your folks, you don't know where they are. You haven't heard anything from them. Do you still have a house? Do you still have a home to go to?"

NPR reported the typhoon slammed into six central Philippine islands Friday, with estimates that the death toll could reach 10,000. The storm knocked down buildings and leveled homes with winds of up 147 miles per hour, making the typhoon a storm that compares to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the U.S. A mass burial for up to 400 was planned Sunday in near the provincial capital of Tacloba.

The Fairmont Sentinel reported that Leonora Chadderdon, a native of the Philippins who owns a salon in the city, learned that her family members were accounted for, but their homes were destroyed. To help, Chadderdon will offer her salon services next week for donations and will send the proceeds to her family members in the Philippines.

"I am lucky I am here and have a good life in America," Chadderdon said. "I am the only one who can help them."

WCCO said that the Philippines Center in Maplewood will be involved in raising money to help those in need. In addition, a group of Filipino nurses and doctors from the Twin Cities are planning a relief trip.

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