Local Filipino community waits to hear from family

2:08 AM, Nov 11, 2013   |    comments
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Safety Harbor, Florida -- Minute by minute, the death toll in the Philippines continues to rise. It's estimated more than ten thousand people lost their lives after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the country.

And while people who live in the country struggle to survive, many people in the Tampa Bay area struggle to contact family and friends overseas.

"I''m from Leyte, where the eye of the storm hit," said Ed Bilbao.

Bilbao hasn't spoken to his family in days. He's part of the group that have come together praying, checking social media, trying to figure out if their families survived the most powerful storm ever recorded.

LINK: How you can help Typhoon Haiyan survivors

"I have been crying for two days now just watching the news," said Maribel Markines.

Markines hasn't heard from her sister either. "There's so many dead," she said.

But through the devastation and tears, there is a ray of hope.

"It says it's really bad. They let us know they are fine," Markines said, getting a message from her family that they are safe.

Roque Barrido is still waiting to hear from his loved ones. "I cannot hear anything from my brother and sister," he said.

He said all he can do now is try and help. "We are going to do fundraising," he said.

Barrido is on the board of the Philippine Cultural Foundation and is asking not just the Filipino community, but the Tampa bay community to help.

Although Markines knows her family is safe and the typhoon has passed, there is still a big storm to weather.

"Be strong and know God will get us through this."

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