Local families await word on loved ones in Philippines - New York News

Local families await word on loved ones in Philippines

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There are reports that more than 100 people are dead, and three quarters of a million people have evacuated their homes after a major typhoon ripped through the Philippines.

There is widespread flooding and damage from wind gusts well beyond 170 miles per hour. Still, officials say the disaster could have been worse.

The typhoon blew in and out of the Philippines relatively quickly.

Now, forecasters say it could be regaining strength as it heads toward Southeast Asia.

FOX 32's Lisa Chavarria spoke with several people with family in the Philippines and for most, the lack of communication has been the hardest and most nerve racking part.

"They're strong. The Philippines is notorious for having these kinds of natural disasters, so it's nothing new to them," said Ray Espiritu, owner of Filipina Restaurant.

Espiritu says he's spoken to his uncle, but his cousins still have not been heard from.

John Pate, an American citizen that lives in Manila, told FOX 32 News that he feels fortunate – Typhoon Haiyan or Yolanda as they call the storm there -- didn't hit them hard. The concern now is for family in the hardest hit area.

"The last report we got from our sister-in-law down there was that they were really concerned about their roof coming off. And that was yesterday morning for us when the storm was starting to come in and we haven't been able to talk to them since," Pate said. "We're just praying that they're ok, she has three small children."

That story echoes from the Philippines to right here in Chicago. People are waiting for a call as relatives deal with the aftermath of the typhoon.

"I was talking with one of the congressman from the affected province and he said that their city or their town has been blocked out, pretty much from power. Some of it was preemptive because most of the power lines in this part of the Philippines are above street. So if strong winds hit it, it could cause fire or electrocution," said Leo Herrera-Lim, Consul General of the Philippine Consulate of Chicago.

Filipinos here say they believe in the spirit of the people there.

"They're naturally resilient. And they're people whose faith is probably among the strongest of all of the people in the region," Herrera-Lim said.

'Resilient' is a word that was repeated by everyone about their families in the Philippines.

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