Tragedy in Philippines galvanizes US residents - KCTV5 News

Tragedy in Philippines galvanizes US residents

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Children, women prioritized for flights after typhoon devastates Philippines (A) Children, women prioritized for flights after typhoon devastates Philippines (A)

Aid workers in the United States are rushing together to help save lives in the Philippines as anxious family members of missionaries wait for word after a typhoon devastated the southeast Asia island nation.

A medical team from North Kansas City Hospital heading to the country includes Filipino natives. Sutures, bandages, swabs, disposable instruments, over-the-counter pain medicines and other desperately needed supplies are being packed for the overseas flight.

Dr. Antonio Racela is going to the Philippines on behalf of the nonprofit organization he founded, World Outreach Foundation.

"We're doubling our efforts," Racela said. "There is going to be a rise in GI problems and also respiratory problems because of the deteriorating sanitary conditions and there's not enough adequate housing."

Cora Zamora is an intensive care nurse who has two sisters in the devastated area.

"We can make a difference to the lives of those people who are really badly hit by this disaster," she said. "Even to help one person at a time, that would really make me feel good."

Henna Fuller is hauling supplies. She is anxious because she has been unable to reach her family.

"I could not sleep," she said.

Area hospitals are contributing supplies to the effort. Because of the conditions, the team won't be able to leave until mid-December for the medical mission. Heart to Heart International is putting together care packages.

Many are like Fuller and are in agony because they have been unable to reach loved ones in the areas decimated by what is called Typhoon Yolanda in the former U.S. territory.

Hundreds of missionaries are serving for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Philippines.

Some were thrilled to receive word that they survived the storm, but others are still waiting for word.

Karyn McMillan said her sister and brother-in-law love doing the mission work and working with the Filipinos. She was quite nervous and quite relieved when she learned Monday afternoon that they were OK.

Jeane and Dick Douglas have served in the country for two years. They prepared for the storm by stocking up on water and other supplies. They ensured heavy rains and a loss of utilities but are OK.

They are working with other members of their congregation to connect them with missing loved ones. An estimated 10,000 or more were killed by powerful storm.

"We're praying for them and hoping everybody will be accounted for," said McMillan.

The church says that there are 24 missionaries who remain unaccounted for. Many of those missing are in the hard-hit area of Tacloban.

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