Some in El Paso still searching for family in Philippines

EL PASO, Tx - ABC-7 found a Filipino woman who has relatives in one of the hardest hit areas of the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan.

It's been three days since the typhoon struck and El Paso resident Reilynne Padua said she still hasn't heard from her grandfather, an aunt and three cousins.

"We have had no contact to them ever since this started," Padua said.
Members of her family live in Isabel Leyte, a coastal Philippine city of about 45,000 people. That city found itself directly in the path of the deadly typhoon.

"Every day I'm trying to get in touch with them," she said. "I call them, text, even email ... Nothing. Nothing goes through. It is very bad there, so we don't have communication. We got news online that there's no electricity, there's no water, there's nothing and so we are very worried."

How does she deal with that?

"By praying, just by prayers," she said. "Every time I watch the news it's all very hard for us to watch and not shed a tear. I'm just praying that my family is safe. My grandfather is a retired police colonol, so I think he's very tough. But at the same time, he's very old too so I'm just praying he's safe and the whole family."

"From yesterday's offering during our service, we have almost $500, which is really good," said Joanna Lasala, the daughter of "Heart for the World" Church's pastor, who is collecting donations for victims.

Others who attend services at the Far East El Paso church have also been unable to get ahold of their loved ones in the Philippines. While ABC-7 was there, someone dropped off a $100 check.

"We've gotten a lot of phone calls, so this week is going to be really busy with collections and everything," Lasala said. "A lot of people aren't aware how many Filipino people there are in El Paso. It's really hard because we're so far away and then I feel helpless. There are so many things we want to do."

"My family is very close to me and I just feel so sad," Padua added. "I can't do anything aside from prayers, but prayer is the best thing."

A drop box for donations for typhoon victims, preferably cash, has been set up at the "Heart for the World Fil-Am" church at 3620 Wooster off Montana street. Donations are also being accepted at the Maharlika Asian Merchandise store at 1580 George Dieter or donate to the Red Cross.

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