Some in Filipino community hear from relatives days after Typhoon Haiyan's wrath
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Woodside residents with family ties to the Philippines became distraught over the weekend when they began seeing images on television of their homeland under piles of rubble in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.
Many, like Silverio Lendero, 64, of 58th Street in the Queens neighborhood dubbed "Little Manila," tried for several days to reach loved ones in Tacloban, the hardest-hit city, while praying that their relatives were all right.
Hearing that there was no power, no food and no water was bad enough, but the lack of contact over several harrowing days made things worse.
"I finally got in touch with my niece, which made me happy," said Lendero, who works at Phil-Am Food Mart. He had been trying to reach family since Friday.
"I was very relieved," he said Monday. "She's OK, my brothers are all OK, but their house is all gone. Their house was just washed away."
The 20-year resident of Woodside said he also has two brothers, a daughter and grandchildren in Tacloban.
"My daughter in Tacloban, I'm worried for her because she has four kids, and they are little," he said. "Two of them aren't even in school yet. I have no idea if the Filipino community is doing anything right now for aid. . . . My daughter told me today that they are looking for other places to stay at right now, somewhere in the evacuation zones. There's a scarcity of food and clean water there. And there's no power, so hopefully they can find some other place to go to."
United Nations officials said Monday that as many as 10,000 people are feared dead from the typhoon, perhaps the worst of the past century, and 660,000 are displaced.
Marlo Barral, 34, of 72nd Street in Woodside, said he had been worried sick when he couldn't reach his wife's uncle in Tacloban.
"We spoke to him on Friday before the typhoon and then we couldn't reach him until Sunday," Barral, a doorman, said. "We were so worried, we kept calling and we couldn't get in contact with them. Finally, we called yesterday and he got through to us, he told us that he's fine, his family was safe, and that they're all alive. Thank God."
Barral heard from his relative the same grim reports that authorities have been giving on television and radio since the typhoon hit.
"He told us that they couldn't have any evacuation centers nearby because they don't have enough supplies and everything is down," Barral said. "Even the airports are down, and everything is pretty much wiped out."