Area residents are desperately trying to connect with lost loved ones after one of the worst typhoons in history slammed into the Philippines on Friday.
According to Dave Schrader, chief communications officer for the American Red Cross of Southeastern Pennsylvania, around 25 people in the region have called his office looking for help contacting loved ones in the Philippines.
The typhoon that hit the Philippines on Friday killed an estimated 2,000 to 2,500 people, said the Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday, although other reports listed a potential high of 10,000 dead. The storm has devastated the island country.
One local resident concerned over a missing loved one is Shannon Britton, whose brother, John, was raised and lived in Parkesburg.
According to Britton, her family last heard from John, 44, on Thursday as he was preparing for the storm.
Britton said John had been living in the Ormock City for a year with his fiancée, May JunTong; his stepdaughter, Samantha Grafford, 12; and 8-month-old son, John Joseph.
John also has two other adult daughters in the states, Stephanie Britton Richards and Rebecca Britton Williams.
Shannon Britton said her family has been doing everything possible to try and find John. So far, she has contacted the Red Cross, the State Department and American Citizen Services. She said she is also planning on contacting local politicians to raise awareness.
One of the most important things Britton has done so far, she said, is to start the John Britton Facebook page, which had more than 200 “likes” as of Tuesday afternoon.
“When people ask me what they can do to help, I tell them to go to the Find John Britton Facebook page and share it and like it, especially people who have connections to others overseas,” she said. “Even if they don’t have connections in the Philippines, their friends might have friends in the Philippines.”
She added that she hopes people can keep John in their thoughts and prayers, and “help all of the people in the Philippines by donating to the Red Cross.”
Those looking to help the Red Cross can make a financial donation, according to Schrader. He said the organization is not accepting goods, and instead financial donations will be sent to the Philippines Red Cross, which is on the ground providing aid.
Shannon Britton said she’s hoping that John, his family and all of those affected by the typhoon will be helped.
- Seahawk with family in Philippines helping typhoon victims (king5.com)
- Typhoon calls keep Pa. Red Cross volunteers busy (trentonian.com)
- How to Help the Philippines (symmetric-information.net)