LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The official death toll in the Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan is under 1,000, but officials fear the true number of people killed could top ten times that.
The storm, one of the strongest storms on record to make landfall, hit the central Philippines last week. Rescue teams are still trying to reach some of the more remote areas and worst affected areas, which are still cut off. Residents in those areas are without electricity and communications. Many roads are blocked by debris, fallen trees, and overturned cars.
Imagine seeing that devastation around the globe and wondering if your loved ones survived the super typhoon. Some Philippines natives living in Louisville had to watch from afar and hope for the best.
Rizalino Lanceta owns Lanceta Trading, a Filipino grocery store in Louisville. Lanceta recalls getting frantic text messages from relatives, trapped in the midst of the destruction.
"The roofs are flying around," said Lanceta of the messages.
Rolando Gaggido, 81, is a Philippines native and served as mayor of a small town on the island of Panay. That town is all but gone.
"My town is actually destroyed by the last typhoon you know," Gaggido said
Gaggido and other natives of the Philippines now living in the U.S. said they feel helpless watching the tragedy and the death flash across their TV screen seemingly a world away.
"It's very tragic to see that," said Ernie Tacogue, another Philippines native living in Louisville, "to see the footage in the Philippines with people suffering considering the Philippines is a very poor country. It's going to take them years and years to recover from this."
Lanceta Trading not only sells groceries, it's also a place where people come to ship things back home to relatives in a poor and struggling country. Lanceta is holding out hope that more care packages and aid will start flowing into a country that desperately needs it.
"We need help very badly for the people of our province," said Lanceta.
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