Following Disaster, Local Organizations Help Filipinos Reconnect With Family

By: Anthony Sabella Email
By: Anthony Sabella Email

Miles of destruction. Crowds of people misplaced from their homes.

Just some of the images from the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. It may be on the other side of the world, but for 30,000 Filipinos in Michigan, it couldn't be more real.

"The biggest struggle is trying to get a hold of their loved ones," said Ryan Rosario, President of the FIlipino American Community Council of Michigan.

Although Rosario has no relatives in the affected areas, the same can't be said for the thousands he represents. With no communication possible, many are fearing the worst.

"If they can't get a hold of them, it affects them," he said. "They can't sleep at night knowing something tragic might have happened to their loved ones or families."

That panic is being felt in Mid-Michigan, where the Lansing chapter of the Red Cross has already received calls from people, desperately trying to get in touch with family members.

"They're calling saying, 'I just talked with my family member the night it hit. The lights were going out, the wind was picking up and that's the last I've heard from them'," she said.

Using information provided by family members, Joan Meinke puts a missing person's name into a tracing system to help reconnect families. As far as relief efforts go, Meinke says the best way to help is through financial support because sending supplies would be too difficult.

"That would go to a number of things that are needed very badly: food, water, medication," she said.

You never know who's loved one it could help. is happy to provide a forum for commenting and discussion. Please respect and abide by the house rules:

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