Locals worry about loved ones in the Philippines - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Locals worry about loved ones in the Philippines

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Nicole Gerber

ngerber@abc6.com

@nicolegerber

PROVIDENCE - Super typhoon Haiyan has killed at least 4 people in the Philippines and caused nearly 750 thousand people to flee their homes.

And more than 8,000 miles away, Rhode islanders with ties to the islands worry about family and friends.

"I'm really worried," said Hector Garcia, originally from the Philippines. He's been completely cut off from his family since typhoon Haiyan hit with its 235 mile per hour winds.

The last time he talked to his loved ones was by text yesterday.

"I'm kind of waiting for news... from first hand... news from somebody that I know," he said.

Before communication went down, Garcia's family told him what they were seeing as the storm struck.

"The winds... especially the winds and the flooding, that's the main concern there. The streets are kind of clogged with all the... garbage and everything," he explained.

Flooding is one of the main health concerns right now, and for the Rhode Island based H.O.P.E Foundation International, which travels to the islands once a year to give medical and dental aid, it could mean battling a whole new set of infections on their next mission.

"Any type of disturbance like that, especially sewerage, is very dangerous for people," said executive director Marie Halo. "You know you have your E. Coli floating around... and you know they walk through it."

The group heads there in January to bring aid to people living in the rural areas that were hit by the outer rim of the storm.

But for now, all family members can do is just wait... hoping those living on the island make it out okay.

"Filipinos back home are very resilient. They're kind of... used to it... like, they're strong. You know, they get back," said Garcia.

This upcoming H.O.P.E Foundation trip could be the group's last if they can't get increased funding. For more information or to find out how to donate, visit their web site.

 

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