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Expat Filipinos seek to help family and friends hit by Typhoon Haiyan

Monday November 11, 2013 - 08:35 EDT

The Filipino community in Sydney is doing what it can to provide support to family and friends affected by the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

Unconfirmed reports suggest at least 10,000 people are dead in a single province of the country after the storm, one of the most power to make landfall on record.

A senior police official says about 70 to 80 per cent of the Leyte province was destroyed by the typhoon.

The Philippine Community Council of New South Wales is raising money to provide support to people impacted by the storm.

Council spokesman Arturo Sayas says around 20 typhoons hit the Philippines each year, but never on the scale of Haiyan.

"The Philippines is always suffering this kind of emergency," he said.

"This one is a massive one but really we need to put our acts together and have a concerted effort just to accumulate or ask for some donors to help our fellow Filipinos back in the Philippines."

Mr Sayas says it has been difficult to contact people in the Philippines to check on their welfare because of the damage to the telephone network.

"The telephone connection is worse, there's not much communication at the moment because of the devastation of the power and all the electricity functioning," he said.

"From time to time I get messages, texts from the Philippines that these families are alright."

Prayers from Filipinos living in Australia

Prayer services for Typhoon Haiyan's victims have been held around Australia, including at Bossley Park in Sydney's west.

Father Nards Mercene says he has been unable to get in contact with priests he has worked with in the Philippines, but has spoken to some people in his home province.

"They were really afraid, there were really afraid because the wind was very strong," he said.

"That's the worst experience with typhoons. They're used to typhoons because we have more than 20 a year but this is the worst one.

"It is in a state of calamity. 80 per cent of the towns are flooded in one area.

"I know the priests who are there. I don't know what's happened to them. This is close to Manila. I hope those [aid] boxes that we've sent already can reach those places."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has set up a 24-hour emergency helpline for people concerned about relatives in the path of Typhoon Haiyan, 1300 555 135.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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