Typhoon Haiyan devastation felt in Manatee County

Special to the HeraldDecember 16, 2013 

As the death toll rises and thousands remain missing presumed dead, Typhoon Hiayan's damage continues to devastate weeks after ravishing areas of East and Southeast Asia more than month ago.

Around 4 a.m. Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda, hit the island of Samar with winds up to 195 mph. It then passed onto Tacloban City, the capital of the Leyte province, Philippines, which was struck the hardest.

Infrastructure was heavily affected and many homes were flattened.

The death toll is now at 5,632 with more than 26,000 injured and close to 2,000 missing.

Children are now orphaned and many have been separated from loved ones. Looting was common following the storm due to desperation for food, clean water and supplies. Relief organizations still face the issues of destroyed roads and landing locations for planes marred by rubble. They also must deal with the Philippines' highly disconnected landscape.

Although some progress has been made in the roughly seven weeks since the storm, many people still lack food and clean water.

Braden River High School students whose families live in the Philippines have directly felt the effects of Haiyan at home.

"About 90 percent of my family is over there," senior Krizelle Guevara said. "For them, the storm hit more like a hurricane. There was a lot of wind and, of course, rain. The winds were so strong the roof of my aunt's house flew off. They are currently trying to repair it."

Just one week before the typhoon hit, sophomore Kim Evens' mother was in the Philippines visiting family. The town she grew up in was destroyed.

"Everyone on my mother's side is currently living in the Philippines. After hearing about the situation, I have become more grateful and cherish everything I have," Evens said.

Bradenton's Filipino com

munity has banded together to support each other during the recovery. Many donations have been made to organizations such as the Salvation Army and UNICEF, but there is still much more to be done.

"There is always something more to do and there is always something more to give. I think that people should at least contribute in some way because, if we are not there for other people, who is going to be there for us?" Guevara said.

To donate to relief efforts, visit cnn.com/2013/11/09/world/iyw-how-to-help-typhoon-haiyan/ for more information on different organizations and the services they provide.

"Filipino people are strong and I know that they will be able to make it through this with our help and the help of their country," Evens said.

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