Relief as family escapes Philippines' typhoon carnage

First published in News
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The Westmorland Gazette: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

FOUR Filipinos living in South Lakeland have told of their relief after loved ones avoided the carnage caused by the super-typhoon that has shocked the world.

Jane Mason, Mitzel Dand and husband-and-wife Christopher and Naemi Alma Garcia, who work at Seafarers fish-and-chip-shop, Bowness, said their families were lucky not to have been affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

It ravaged The Philippines’ central islands over the weekend, killing thousands .

The ferocious 170mph winds of the category-five storm left a trail of devastation and countless people homeless.

Millions of people are thought to have been affected as 20-foot high waves swept away homes, schools and buildings and flattened entire towns.

And although family and friends are safe, the quartet fear for their beloved country and have promised to fundraise in the Lake District to help towards the rescue effort.

“I wish I could go out there and join in the rescue,” said chippy owner Jane, who is originally from Bukidnon but has lived in Bowness since 2005.

The 49-year-old, who is keeping up-to-date with the situation via Filipino news channels, said her parents, two brothers and sister were all safe but added she was ‘extremely worried’ for the country, which has a population of nearly 100 millions spread across thousands of islands.

“Most people live in very small and fragile houses,” she said.

“The country is very poor and this is not what they need. Sometimes we take for granted how lucky we are. I will be contacting the embassy to find out what we can do to help.”

Thousands of survivors in cut-off towns are still desperately waiting for aid to reach them and many have been left without food, shelter, electricity or clean drinking water.

A state of national calamity has been declared and countries across the world have pledged financial support, including Britain.

The worst affected area was the low-lying city of Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province, where it is feared up to 10,000 may have died.

“There is poor communication, many roads are blocked, there are rotting bodies in the streets and hospitals have been destroyed,” said Mr Garcia, 38, who now lives in Kendal but has parents in the country’s capital Manila.

“Unless you have a chopper there is no way of getting help to them.”

Mrs Dand, 38, who lives in Windermere but has relatives in Dumaguete, added: “It’s devastating to see the country suffering like this.”

* To donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee visit www.dec.org.uk or call 0370 60 60 900. People can also give £5 by texting the word SUPPORT to 70000.

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