NY Consulate helps families connect with typhoon victims

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

NOV. 12, 2013

NEW YORK CITY – When the wrath of super typhoon Yolanda was described as worse than hell, a Filipino family feared the worst possible scenario that could have happened to their loved ones back home in Biliran and Tacloban, Leyte

“I haven’t heard from them yet,” Febreit Sabonsolin said “I tried to call them. We cannot call them and are very worried about them. We don’t know what’s going on.”

“The death toll is rising so it’s scary because the ones dying might be my relatives,” Jun Milleras said. “That’s the scariest part.”

While there are ways to locate their loved ones via the American Red Cross’—Restoring Family Links website or Google’s person finder—the Philippine Consulate in New York is offering their services to connect and reunite Filipino-Americans with their families in the typhoon affected areas.

U.S. residents can send an email to phcongen.newyork@gmail.com with the full names of their loved ones together with their exact address in the affected areas.

“We will forward the information to the Department of Foreign Affairs the DFA will coordinate with the local authorities and the military because these are the agencies that took care of residence in the affected area,” Deputy Consul General Zaldy Patron said.

Patron says local authorities and the Philippine military would help locate their families or loved ones and at the least provide information on where they can be found—living or deceased.

This is the Philippine Consulate in New York’s initiative as a response to the heavy calls they have received after the monster typhoon pounded the Central Philippines.

“We understand their concern, we’d like to help them as much as we can but unfortunately we don’t have ready answers so we can just facilitate the coordination,” Patron said.

Meantime, some families have somehow reconnected with their loved ones through social media.

After days of not hearing from her daughter and mother in Inopacan, Leyte, Shirley Asunto said she received a message from a neighbor in Leyte who saw her loved ones alive.

“I still haven’t spoken with my mother,” Asunto said. “At least she’s okay. What’s important is that my family is okay. We were stressed. We had no sleep for many days just thinking about it.”

Cebu Native and New York resident Jovan Uy said,” Malaking tulong talaga yung mga social media sa atin, lalo na ngayong panahon na maraming disaster nangyari.”

You may contact DON TAGALA at don_tagala@abs-cbn.com for more information.

One Comment

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  • Y Labra
    12 November 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Of course social media should do that bec. They got salary from us and also there popularity like celibrity , but what happen now the pork barrel is there is any body knows what’s going on is our money. Hey Balitang America & Tfc were watching the news of pork barrel every day now is gone