Local family affected by typhoon gets good news

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Friday, Nov. 15, 2013

Augusta, G.a. (WRDW) - Over a week after Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines, one Augusta family is finally getting good news that their family members survived.

We spoke to Charlene Johnston last week as she watched the Typhoon make land fall in her families home country. She told News 12's Patrick Price communication with her family was always very limited because of economic hardships.

Today, Johnston confirmed with News 12 that her family is safe.

"My family in Manila is okay," she said. "But my family in Siargao got hit by the typhoon pretty hard."

Siargao sits on an island about 100 miles from where Typhoon Haiyan made landfall at.

She tells News 12 that they lived in Nipa huts made from palm trees and that some of the family members did lose those homes.

Her other family members live in Mindanao, the second largest island in the Philippines.

"They're assumed to be okay but communication is difficult because they live without electricity, so no phones," said Johnston.

She says she is thankful and fortunate to have her family alive and safe.

Local efforts from the Red Cross in the CSRA are preparing to send over aid to help those affected by the typhoon.

"The extent of the cleanup has not been calculated yet," said Derek Dugan with the Red Cross in Aiken. "We are assisting people with family in the Philippines."

Dugan's working with a team across the CSRA to get funds across seas.

"It's just more effective, it's just a better use of the donor dollar, to purchase those items than to have them shipped," said Dugan.

Once that money is sent over, the Filipino community can start to rebuild.

Officials say more than 900,000 people are still without a home and 2.5 million need food and water.

"It goes a long way in repairing the lives of those affected and also repairing the country," he said.

The latest national death toll from the typhoon is 2,360, officials said.

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