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Fears for three Australians missing in the Philippines in wake of Typhoon Haiyan

By Monique Ross, Monday November 11, 2013 - 17:34 EDT
ABC licensed image
Errol and Margie Mitchell moved to the Philippines earlier this year - ABC licensed

A Queensland man holds grave fears for three relatives who are missing in the Philippines in the wake of the deadly Typhoon Haiyan.

At least 10,000 people are feared dead in the province of Leyte , and hundreds of thousands more have been left without food or shelter.

In the provincial capital Tacloban, many homes and buildings have been flattened and witnesses have described bodies piled in the streets.

Tim Pollock is one of many people desperate for information about loved ones who have not been heard from since the storm - one of the most powerful on record to make landfall.

His relatives Errol Mitchell, 66, Margie Mitchell, 37, and Chris Hesselberg, 44, were in the small town of Alang Alang, 18 kilometres west of Tacloban, when it hit on Friday.

"As far as I can see from all the news coverage, Alang Alang was hit hard," Mr Pollock told ABC News Online.



"It was a very pretty place, very low-lying. The town is in the middle of a river plain, in the low-land where they grow rice.

"My fear is that the town went underwater when the storm surge hit.

"We've contacted everyone we can. They have other family here and they are also worried. We can't do much but wait and hope for information."

Errol and Margie Mitchell moved from Cairns to Alang Alang earlier this year after Mr Mitchell retired. Mr Hesselberg was on holidays in the area, and was set to return to his Bundaberg home within weeks.

Power and communications are down across the region, and Mr Pollock is hopeful his relatives have found safety.

He says even if they survived the storm, they would still face challenges seeking food, shelter and medical help.

"There is no health service there," he said.



"Errol is an older man and he wouldn't be able to get the food he needs - the Filipinos have a very different diet to us.

"He would still have been eating Western food, and with all the supermarkets closed or destroyed, I don't know what he will do."

One Australian, former priest Kevin Lee, who had been a , has been confirmed dead after the storm.

It is believed the 50-year-old had been living in the Philippines with his Filipino wife and they had just had their first child.

Thousands of troops and emergency workers have been deployed to disaster areas, with military cargo planes flying in supplies.

The typhoon, known locally as Yolanda, after weakening over the South China Sea.

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. The number is 1300 555 135.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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