Dubai: It’s been a gruelling two nights of uncertainty and worry for Filipinos in Dubai who have so far not contacted their families in the Philippines since super typhoon Haiyan ravaged the country on Friday.
Typhoon Haiyan, locally known as Yolanda and one of the strongest storms ever recorded, pounded the eastern islands of Leyte and Samar early Friday morning with sustained winds of around 315km/h before tearing through the nearby island provinces of Bohol, Cebu, Bacolod, Mindoro and others.
At least 1,000 people were killed in Tacloban City, according to the Philippine Red Cross on Saturday. This figure is however yet to be confirmed by the Manila’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council. There are fears the death toll could still rise further as information from officials on the ground is still to come. Flooding, storm surges, roofs carried away by the wind and uprooted trees were a common sight across central Philippines.
Madeliene Balbuena from Samar has yet to hear from her parents. Her last contact with them was before the storm made landfall on Thursday night. Power and communication lines have been down since then.
“I’m frantically worried as I don’t know the situation there until now. My mum and dad are in Samar while my relatives are in Tacloban, Leyte,” Balbuena, who works at a money exchange company, told Gulf News.
“I’ve seen the damage in Tacloban in the news, but there’s no news so far from my hometown Dolores,” she added.
Marianne Luzana, a quantity surveyor from Leyte, said all she could do was pray for her family’s safety as videos of the typhoon’s catastrophic effects emerged.
“We heard from the news that it is flooded in some areas with up to 10 feet of water, and 15 feet in others. We don’t know what to believe. We are obviously worried for our families. We last spoke to them on Thursday night before the storm hit. Now, we haven’t succeeded in contacting them,” Luzana told Gulf News.
“I can’t tell you how worried I am. But what can I do but to pray for our family’s safety and wait for good news?” she added.
Aivee Heredia, a housewife from Leyte, finally breathed a sigh of relief on Friday after a night of no communication with her family, including her parents and eldest daughter, in Bato, Leyte.
“It was a long, restless night on Thursday. Early morning on Friday, we watched the news straight away to see the typhoon’s aftermath. Fortunately, I was able to speak to them for a while yesterday before their phone batteries went out,” Heredia said, adding although their house was flooded, she is thankful her family was spared.