Belfast Telegraph

Anguish of Belfast Filipino family over relatives caught up in typhoon

Her mother is missing in the mayhem... his family are left with nothing

BY CLAIRE WILLIAMSON

A distraught Filipina nurse working in Northern Ireland has told of her agonising struggle to make contact with her vulnerable mother who is missing in the Philippines disaster.

Marianne Dy (39) has lived in Belfast for 10 years with her husband Allen (39) and their two children.

The family have been in turmoil since they watched the terrifying scenes of hurricane force winds and tsunami-like storm surges sweeping through the central Philippines on Friday, unsure if their loved ones were safe or not.

The official death toll from the disaster rose to 1,774 on Tuesday and more than 9m people have been affected across a large swathe of the country, many of them made homeless.

The Dy family have not slept in days as they maintain an anxious watch for updates on family members caught up in the typhoon.

Marianne was momentarily relieved when she received a message to say that her 60-year-old mother Lilia Adrales (right), who lives in a suburb of Tacloban City, was safe and well. But yesterday her joy turned to panic as she learned her mother could no longer be located.

She told the Belfast Telegraph: "I spoke to my mother the night before the typhoon happened and after that I hadn't heard from her.

"On Monday we received a text message from a friend to say that my mum was OK.

"Yesterday my dad asked him if he could check on my mum again but apparently she was not at home, we don't know where she is now.

"I'm just really worried about my mum because she is on her own. I don't know if she has anything to eat or drink or any shelter," said the nurse.

The distressed family say for two days they have tried not to watch the news because it only adds to their concern.

Now Mrs Dy's worries have been compounded by reports of violence breaking out as survivors search for food, with some people ransacking and looting remaining houses.

Marianne's husband has also been in anguish over the past days as many of his immediate family were caught up in the disaster which tore through his childhood family home in Hoerdemann.

He told of his relief that his mother, sisters, nephews and niece ranging from six years old to 68 years old had all survived, but spoke of his heartbreak that they now have "nothing".

"We don't have a home now, our cars are gone, everything is gone, it's all mud now," the 39-year-old chef said.

"My family are in Manila now with other relatives but they have nothing, it's devastating.

"For three days or more until today we had heard nothing, we were not able to sleep." The Queen has sent a message expressing her "heartfelt condolences" to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan. She also made a personal donation to the appeal.

And the Government announced it will match the first £5m in public donations to UK charities, bringing its total aid commitment so far to £15m.

The announcement came as the first consignment of UK aid prepares to leave for the stricken island nation. A team of British medical experts are also due to depart, while a Royal Navy warship and an RAF transport aircraft are helping the recovery effort.

Belfast Telegraph

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