Local Filipino Community Concerned for Those Back Home

Updated: 11/11/2013 7:38 PM KSTP.com By: Todd Wilson

Help is needed in the central Philippines in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. As many as 10,000 people could be dead. Homes and businesses are destroyed and nearly the entire city of Tacloban is gone.

The pastor of the Filipino American Christian Church in Mounds View, Roberto Atienza, is doing his best to keep it together. Tacloban is where many of his aunts, uncles and cousins live. 

"What was going through my mind? Definitely a tremendous amount of worry. Even when I was a child these were the cousins that I was playing with," he said.

Atienza says he's thankful for a big family. His cousin in the south rode his motorcycle to Tacloban loaded down with water and blankets. It's a trip that typically takes three hours, he says it took him over a day.

"They were able to find them and they were OK but at that point they hadn't eaten anything or drank anything for two days," said Atienza.

Atienza is stressed about his own family but at the same time he has to comfort those in his congregation. He says the news of the devastation has left many in a state of sorrow.

"They're very distraught, some of them are almost inconsolable," he said.

A month before this typhoon there was a 7.2 earthquake. The quake has affected nearly 3.5 million people. A large number of those people were living in tents outside when typhoon Haiyan hit Friday.     

"Unless you can get someone in there that you know into the area to actually physically look for people, chances are you are not going to find out anything," he said.

Atienza says times are tough for his parishioners and their families. But he says, this is a time for them to keep the faith. He says, God's strength will shine through.