San Diegans praying for loved ones in the Philippines - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diegans praying for loved ones in the Philippines

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Here in San Diego, people are praying for loved ones in the path of Typhoon Haiyan.

It's hard for Mira Mesa restaurant owner Tina Balch to concentrate on serving customers, knowing she can't contact loved ones and friends who were right in the path of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

"It's basically the unknown that's killing us because we haven't heard anything… even our own relatives and friends, we tried to PM them on Facebook and no response whatsoever," Balch said.

Balch says she last heard from relatives about 24 hours ago as Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philipines, was hitting landfall, knocking out power and communications.

"The last we heard is that downtown is submerged 16 feet high. Our structure is not like in the U.S. where we have second level, third level. Most of them are just one story," she said.

She knows what it's like to go through a major typhoon. As a 5th grader in the mid 1980s, Balch thought she would not survive what hit her hometown, which also felt the brunt of Haiyan.

"The darkness, because there's no electricity, the winds and everything… I felt like I was dying. So now my heart goes out to the kids," she said.

Tony Olaes is the CEO of a Philipine relief aid group with its U.S. branch in Poway. He says a $5 donation can provide plenty of help to those who have lost everything to the super storm. The organization is hoping to supply 200,000 food packs.

"One food pack allows for a family of four to get through those three to four days right after the storm where there's no clean water, no electricity, no food. The food's underwater. A third of our people live in shanties. That stuff just gets blown away, and where do they go?" he said.

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