By Jack Carver
BELLEVILLE – Typhoon Haiyan has local Filipinos worried for their families as the largest storm of the year hit the Philippines early Friday morning.
The typhoon brought 300-kph winds across a string of islands, forcing 720,000 people from their homes. Over 900 people have been confirmed dead by Filipino authorities with another 300 missing. Authorities expect the death toll to rise to the tens of thousands as the week goes on.
Jamie Miranda, a Belleville resident with family in the Philippines, says she’s remaining hopeful.
“My brothers and sisters are still there, and my father, but I think where they are hasn’t been affected by the typhoon,” Miranda said. “I haven’t spoken to them in a few days but I’m sure they’re all right.”
Paulina Uy, a student at Loyalist College who is from the Philippines, said she was initially worried but was happy to hear her family is okay.
“I texted my brother who lives in a different city (from the rest of their family) and when he said that they were okay, that was a big relief for me,” Uy said. “After a while my mom replied to my texts and that was also a relief.”
The storm affected at least 9 million people across the densely populated country, with four-metre-high surges wiping out buildings. Tacloban City, in the country’s east side, has been largely destroyed.
The typhoon comes after a 7.1-magnitude earthquake hit the island country last month, killing 222 people, injuring nearly 1,000, and displacing 350,000, according to Filipino authorities.
The Canadian government is planning on sending up to $5 million of humanitarian aid in affected areas, and will match money that Canadians donate to UNICEF Canada, Save The Children, Global Medic Canada, the Canadian Red Cross and World Vision Canada.