Local Filipinos search for loved ones in wake of typhoon

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November 13, 2013 6:40:40 AM PST
Local Filipinos are trying to contact loved ones and looking for ways to help survivors of one of the most powerful typhoons on record.

RELATED: How you can help victims of Typhoon Haiyan

Those with family and friends back in the Philippines have spent several sleepless nights waiting for word from loved ones.

Tresh Moore of Bala Cynwyd is keeping her eyes glued to news reports from the Philippines.

She just spent a month in her home country with her two small children, returning Thursday night, hours before the powerful typhoon came ashore causing widespread devastation.

"I am so glad it didn't happen before we left, but of course, I feel so sad for them," Moore said.

Moore's mother is the mayor of a small town in the area where the typhoon hit.

She is fine and so is her brother and his family. But surrounding towns are leveled. With the death toll climbing, she wants to help.

"Just this morning, I decided to use my Facebook account to help," Moore said.

She is asking friends to bring her supplies she can send to survivors.

Rommel Rivera's family is not in the hard-hit areas, but as the president of the Filipino American Association of Philadelphia, he knows people in our area beside themselves with worry - unable to get in touch with family back in the Philippines.

This weekend his group began organizing ways to help.

"We started fundraising already for those people. The best way, I was told, is to send money, because goods is difficult to reach that area," Rivera explained.

Rivera says they will divert funds for victims from some already scheduled events, like an upcoming Philippine Folk Arts Society concert. They are also planning a benefit concert for December.

Meanwhile, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross in Center City has been fielding calls from people trying to locate their relatives in the typhoon ravaged area through their family tracing service. The Red Cross is accepting donations for the disaster, and urge caution as the calls to donate multiply in the coming weeks.

Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross, tells us, "I would caution people to look carefully at who's asking them for money and insuring that the money gets to the people who need the most help."

If the person you're looking for is a U.S. citizen, it's likely the Red Cross will divert you to the State Department.


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