Local News

Caregivers in US reach out to families in typhoon zone

Posted November 11, 2013 4:44 p.m. EST
Updated November 12, 2013 7:30 a.m. EST

— A professor at the Duke University School of Nursing worked her contacts in Durham Monday to help family members in the Philippines get money, food, water and medicine after a storm of enormous proportions smashed their homes over the weekend.

Cristina Hendrix is state chapter president of the Philippine Nurses Association. The group is mobilizing relief efforts nationwide. Like Hendrix, many of the nurses have family members who were affected. They're raising money to help send supplies to the stricken area, even as members await word from their loved ones.

Hendrix said her brother, sister-in-law and niece rode out the storm at the family home in Leyte, a mostly rural, very poor province that took a direct hit from Typhoon Haiyan Friday.

"They were all hunkered down in the house, and we didn't hear from my sister-in-law and her daughter, who were staying in the house, for about a day or so," Hendrix said. "Finally, mom was able to get in touch with them. They're fine, but there is lots of damage in the house."

They were among the lucky ones. 

Authorities said at least 2 million people in 41 provinces were affected by the typhoon. It's one of the most powerful recorded typhoons to ever hit land and likely the deadliest natural disaster to beset this poor Southeast Asian nation. As many as 10,000 people may have died.

Hendrix says Leyte is no stranger to big tropical storms, but this one was much stronger than anything they've seen. 

"The part of the Philippines that was hit is really, really poor," she said. Hendrix said her family considered evacuation, but had no where else to go. 

"They've weathered other storms in the past, so they thought they would be able to make it through," she said.

The Philippine Nurses Association is among aid organizations working to support those who survived the storm but still have a long rebuilding task ahead. Hendrix said they eventually hope to send a medical mission from the U.S. to the Philippines to aid their people.