Local Filipinos still waiting to hear from loved ones - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Local Filipinos still waiting to hear from loved ones

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Here at home, the local Filipino community is coming together for support. Some of them still have not heard from loved ones who were in the storm's path.

San Diego has a very large Filipino population. Many are directly impacted by this tragedy, including some who are having trouble contacting their loved ones.

"It looks like it will cover the entire country...wipe out the Philippines," Resfina Macoy Torrevillas said.

Images showing the devastation caused by Typhoon Haiyan are difficult to see -- even more so for those who have family in some of the hardest hit areas.

"Friday morning, I was able to contact my sister and mom. But, after two hours, we lost contact," she said.

Torrevillas did finally reconnect with most of her relatives, including her sister, through text.

"It's so frustrating because we're not there to help," she said.

Though this type of contact is somewhat reassuring, Her friend and fellow churchgoer Bebee Cahoon is still waiting to hear anything from her sister and brother.

"This morning, I called three times...still not reachable," Cahoon said. "I wish I would hear one of them say -- we ok."

Both women are members of Saint Michael Catholic Church, where 80 percent of the congregation is Filipino.

Father Manny Ediza has been asking churchgoers to pray and donate money at boxes posted outside the church.

"The Filipinos are strong people because of their faith," he said.

He's also been in constant communication with people in the Philippines, who have described firsthand just how tragic the situation there is.

"There are bodies lying on the streets," Father Ediza said.

Local officials fear the death toll could be as high as 10,000 people.

Despite those stories of heartache -- people here are confident faith and generosity will get them through -- even if it's coming from a place thousands of miles away.

"One thing I'm really proud of with Philippines...no matter how poor, how simple...we chip in and help people in need. We chip in and we never lose faith. We stand strong," Torrevillas said.

San Diego based International Relief Teams is sending monetary donations to partners in Philippines.

"We are providing food and, water, and purification tablets," said Executive Director Barry La Forgia. 

He said the fortunately Manila was not destroyed so they can base items easier to help with recovery efforts.  

"Based upon the magnitude of this disaster it's going to take several years for the Philippines to get past this," said La Forgia.

Those having trouble contacting family in the Philippines say they're hoping it's because both the Internet and many of the cell phone towers there are down.

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