CERRITOS (CBSLA.com) — Southern California houses the largest population of Filipinos outside of the Philippines itself, and many have not been able to contact their families and loved ones since Typhoon Haiyan hit struck the island chain 7,000 miles away.
“My friend told me last night over Facebook that he cannot contact his brother,” Long Beach resident Myta Schmitt said.
Meanwhile, locals with ties to the Philippines worry about the conditions of their loved ones in the affected areas.
“We fear that they don’t have any home right now, especially those that live in the bayou,” Beng Panado said. “I know there’s a lack of food.”
Operation USA, a Southern California non-profit created to aid in relief efforts, is preparing to send emergency supplies overseas, including bottles of water, antibiotics and power generators.
The Red Cross has set up open lines of communication to the Philippines, and anyone who has been unable to reach friends and family there is being told to contact a local Red Cross chapter.
Filipinos in the effected areas that have been able to communicate outside the country, meanwhile, are sending out pleas for help to the rest of the world.
“We don’t need pity,” one Filipino woman said. “We just need your help.”
Brigadier General Paul Kennedy had distressing words to summarize his first-hand observation of the devastation left by Haiyan, which is one of the most powerful ever recorded and has left a death toll in the thousands.
“Every building is either significantly damaged, or destroyed.”