With thousands missing, stranded or dead after Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines, family members of those affected seek answers about their loved ones. Members of Southern California's Filipino community turned to social media for information. Vikki Vargas reports from Lake Forest for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Nov. 11, 2013.
Southern Californians families are waiting anxiously to hear from their loved ones in the Philippines, more than 7,000 miles away and ravaged by one of the strongest storms ever recorded.
After Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the island nation, relatives began reaching out on social media sites, much like New Yorkers did after 9/11, to find their loved ones.
Edith Banaban said her head is in Orange County, but her heart is in the Phillipines, and so are her two college age children.
Erica and Carlo Banaban were in Manilla when the typhoon hit.
“I just called them last Saturday and they’re good,” Banaban said, wiping tears from her eyes.
In Lake Forest, many patrons coming into Pinoy’s Restaurant were there for food and, more often, looking for information.
Michelle Bagaygay has not yet heard from her aunt Eufemia "Ying-ying" Mercado and her cousin Kikay, pictured below. She’s gathering clothes and medical supplies to send over to Tacloban, the capital of the Philippine province of Leyte.
Through tears, Lina Monge pleaded for help finding her brother and sister – Deedee and Minda – who are also missing.
Monge is well aware that the typhoon may have killed tens of thousands of Filipinos. Some 10,000 people were believed dead by Monday evening.
“I have no idea, no signal, no light,” she said.
Restaurants and churches that serve predominantly Filipino communities are community centers for camaraderie and are undertaking efforts to gather clothes, food and emergency supplies.
Pastor Einsteins Cabalteja’s Filipino Christian Church in Los Angeles was raising money for the victims of a 7.2-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 80 people last month.
“Let’s not talk about religion anymore. It's part of being human. These are human beings that really need help,” Cabalteja said.