NBC10- Na’eem Douglas
Thousands of Filipino-Americans in the Philadelphia area are keeping close tabs on friends and family and looking for ways to help. NBC10's Na'eem Douglas reports.
Emily Gaerlan Evans is one of 35,000 Filipino-Americans in the Philadelphia region who are pleading for people to make donations to residents of the Philippine islands that were ravaged by Typhoon Haiyan on Friday.
"I can't imagine what they are going through right now," Evans said.
The typhoon wiped away buildings and leveled seaside homes with ferocious winds of 147 mph and gusts of 170 mph.
Even though she was in America when the storm occurred, Evans says she and many others here are grieving for their country.
"Like anyone who originates from other countries, when your home is in danger, no matter what part you're from, it breaks your heart," Evans said.
Evans, 30, has family from Pandacan Manila and Victoria Laguna in the Philipines. She says most of her parents' family still lives in the country, but were spared because they lived in regions that were not directly impacted by the storm.
She spent much time posting information about how people can donate to the country on her Facebook page.
"Luckily, for the Philippines, America is ready to help. There are numerous ways to donate. I have the Filipino channel at home and they give options for people to reach out," she said.
According to Evans, even the smallest donation can be a big help to survivors of the storm who are now struggling to find basic resources like food, water and medicine.
"The Philippines is not a rich country to begin with, so the people know how to utilize the resources available to them. The only problem is, right now there aren't much available; not even clean water," she said.
"I encourage everyone to take that $10 they were going to spend on a value meal somewhere and help. $10 there is 432 pesos and that would help get food for at least 10 people."
Other Filipino-Americans in the region, like Dianne San Luis, are also encouraging people to make donations to help typhoon survivors recover from the devastating storm which has been compared to a strong Category 4 hurricane in the U.S.
"Per hut is $300, so that's about 15,000 pesos, so even if one dollar, if someone does one dollar or five dollars, it's more than nothing for people to get back into their homes," San Luis said.
Evans recommended people reach out to The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is taking donations to help children impacted by the storm.
"I chose UNICEF not just for the kids out there, but also because I know they are a credible organization."
The Pilipino American Association of Delaware (PAAD) encouraged donations and used Facebook to get the word out about the Typhoon Yolanda Relief Fund that the group launched shortly after the storm.
"We have two Americans on the ground dealing with assessment and that's really the big issue, identifying what people need," said Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes, CEO of the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pa.
Click here to donate now to the Red Cross's efforts.
Comcast, the parent company of NBC10, is also providing free calls to the Philippines for Xfinity Voice residential customers. Comcast also opened access to its Filipino Channel to allow customers to stay up to date on the news and progress following the storm. Click here for more information.
If you are trying to reach a loved one in the Philippines who is a U.S. citizen, you can call 215-299-4889. If your loved ones are not U.S. citizens, you should contact the State Department.