Minn. man struggles to reach family in Philippines - New York News

Minn. man struggles to reach family in Philippines

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OAKDALE, Minn. (KMSP) -

The images coming out of the Philippines of Typhoon Haiyan are devastating -- communities are flattened, children in school house shelters can be seen crying and tragically, the death toll continues to mount.

Ramon Puerto considers his family fortunate -- his brothers and sisters back home in the Philippines, but their farm and their homes in the province of Iloilo were wiped out.

Puerto's source of information was a Facebook post -- Ramon's been unable to speak or communicate with anyone directly since the storm tore across the nation of islands.

"They posted that all their houses are destroyed, so, 6 houses in a cluster. All destroyed," he said. "Just straight line wind about 195 miles per hour. Just blew the houses away."

Some are calling the typhoon one of the biggest and most powerful storms to ever make landfall.

Puerto, who has lived in Minnesota for about 30 years, is trying to do all he can to help his homeland.

"Early this morning, I went to the bank and tried to send money for them to use," Puerto said.

While the country is reeling, a key Filipino lawmaker just happens to be in Minnesota this weekend -- he's a congressman from one of the hardest hit regions. Fox 9 News caught up with Emil Ang at an Oakdale church during one of his appearances.

Congressman Ang is in Minnesota visiting family and trying desperately to monitor developments back at home, but even an elected politician is having trouble because the nation's communications infrastructure was ravaged by the pounding rain and winds.

"It's really sad picture. A calamity, a tragedy to when you find children, old people, young people that have drowned along the street of Samar and Lyte," Ang said.

Congressman Ang is scheduled to make several community event appearances in the Twin Cities through the rest of the weekend. It's estimated that some 10,000 Filipino-Americans live in Minnesota.

The hope is to start raising money and collecting supplies to help a country so desperately in need.

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