Thursday, December 25, 2014

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Local Volunteers Join Relief Effort In Typhoon-Torn Philippines

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TWC News: New York Volunteers En Route To Philippines
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Relief and rescue workers -- including some from the New York area -- are now headed to the Philippines where a super-typhoon left a path of devastation. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.

Haiyan has left the Philippines a disaster. Fires continue to burn and residents do what they can to put them out. The overwhelming task of searching for survivors in buildings turned to hills of rubble will play out in a number of towns and cities.

"There is a major search and rescue operation that needs to really get under way and get moving and we hope to be a part of that," said Elana Duffy, a Team Rubicon Volunteer.

Duffy, a New Yorker, is among more than a dozen veterans and first responders with the nonprofit Team Rubicon who will try to help as many people as they can.

"I don't know that any of us have seen devastation to this magnitude," Duffy said.

The storm is thought to have killed more than 10,000 people. Dazed survivors have been lining up for food.

Leaders at St. Sebastian's Church in Queens encouraged parishioners, many of whom have roots in the Philippines, to look to their faith in the wake of this tragedy.

"My mom house the roof is gone and everybody that I know either the house is gone or the roof are gone," said Erlinda Tremblay, a Woodside resident.

Tremblay's nephew is still missing. She says she can't even watch the news.

Most are having a very difficult time learning if their loved ones are okay. Electricity and phone service is down in many areas. Some municipalities have set up makeshift Internet sites to help with communications.

Mely Borgonia says she saw aerial pictures of her families homes on their town's website but still has not heard if everyone is okay.

"I located one of my brothers houses standing but the three houses of my brother and my sisters totally gone," Borgonia said.

She says she's trusting that they're all okay, thinking she would have heard something by now if that wasn't the case. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP