Texoman reaches out to family in the midst of Typhoon Haiyan

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Four days after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines, the death toll continues to rise.

Officials confirm over 2,000 people were killed in the storm, but many are still missing. Relief workers struggled to get aid to more than 700,000 survivors and thousands more are trying to evacuate. Filipinos all over the world are trying to get a hold of family and friends in areas hit by the powerful storm and one of them was a Sherman resident.

Typhoon Haiyan was a category 5 storm when it hit the provinces of Samar, Leyte and Cebu, where Sherman resident, Belle Ramsey's, sisters live.

"I was very scared, in fact, I tried to call my sisters and I couldn't get a hold of the first one, so I called the second one," she said.

Ramsey frantically called family Thursday night when she heard Typhoon Haiyan was about to make landfall in Central Philippines. Two of her sisters, Ruth and Roxanne, live in Cebu.

After several hours, she was able to get a hold of Roxanne, who told her they'd gathered enough food, water, batteries and secured their roof to get ready for the upcoming storm.

"They could hear the wind whistling and it was so so strong that it sounded like an airplane taking off," she said.

The storm pounded Cebu and its neighboring provinces Samar and Leyte with 235 mph winds flattening homes and trees and sending debris flying in all directions. Philippine President Benigno Aquino III announced Tuesday that the death toll has risen to 2,000 and more than 700,000 Filipinos lost their homes.

"Oh my gosh, it's so devastating, I was crying, I felt sick actually. I didn't feel well looking at it. It could've been my family," she said.

Ramsey said both sisters called her Friday to let her know that they are okay and their homes are still intact, but their neighbors' homes were destroyed. Aid workers from all over the world, including the American Red Cross, are on the ground to assist the victims.

Texoma Red Cross' Sara Jerome said many people called asking how they could help. She also said local volunteers are currently on standby.

"Right now it's response, right now we're waiting for anybody to tell us what to do with the Red Cross because as you know it takes weeks and days to go in there and evaluate the situation like this to see what they actually need," she said.

Ramsey said typhoons are a part of life in the Philippines, but they've never faced a storm as powerful as Haiyan.

"It was so unheard of. I'm so glad my family is fine but so sad about the people who are affected," she said.

If you would like to help the victims of Typhoon Haiyan, contact the Texoma Red Cross at (903)465-1330. They can also help you reach out to friends and loved ones in affected areas.

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