By Jim Melwert
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Filipino-American organizations in the Philadelphia metro area are mobilizing to send aid to the Philippines in the wake of the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan.
10,000 people are thought to be dead in the city of Tacloban and hundreds of thousands more in the central Philippines have been left without homes as a result of the storm.
Louisabella Kampmeyer says she hasn’t been able to speak directly with her brother, who lives in the path of the storm, but she says she has heard that he and his children were able to get to safety (read related story). But she says she’s been overwhelmed by the images of the devastation.
“When you’re seeing a lot of those people over there,” she says, “who are going through debris to either search for whatever they have left of the memories of their loved ones, or maybe their loved ones that they’re looking for, you’re helpless.”
Kampmeyer is secretary of Filipino-American Association of Montgomery County. The group thanks everyone for donations and aid, and she says they’re going to work to raise money not only to fund rescues, but also the long rebuilding operations.
“I do know folks are resilient,” Kampmeyer says. “We tend to pick up the pieces and bring it back together.”
Ferdinand Boco is also among the many still waiting to hear from loved ones.
“The cell phone towers are down, the landlines are down, the electricity is down,” Boco says. Everything is down on our island.”
Boco has family in a coastal town on Samar Island, east of the devastated Tacloban. He says while he hasn’t heard from his relatives, he did to talk to a woman from a neighboring town.
“She lives in a town next to ours,” he says, “She did mention that 400 houses from the storm surge were affected, but how badly nobody knows right now.”
Boco is with the Filipino Executive Council of Greater Philadelphia representing about 30,000 Filipino-Americans. He says they’re focusing fundraising, not only on rescue operations, but also long-term to help the rebuilding and recovery process.