A Denaby woman who feared her family was among the thousands dead in the Typhoon-hit Philippines has spoken of her relief after learning they are safe.
Catherine Lequin Encinas Hambrey had not heard from her parents, brothers and sisters for several days after Typhoon Haiyan swept through the country causing mass devastation.
But the 41-year-old received a text message from her sister Sheilla in the early hours of Tuesday morning to say ‘All of the family is okay.’
Her relatives were among 14 families who barricaded themselves in against 150mph winds at her parents’ brick-built home.
Mrs Hambrey said: “I thought they were dead. My heart was beating so fast when my sister finally text me. I was so relieved. Thank God.”
But she added that she now fears her relatives may starve if aid does not reach them. “I have seen the reports on the news and it is devastating. My parents have a water pump but all of the shops have blown down. I just hope they can get food.”
The factory worker, who lives with husband Les and their two sons in Westmorland Lane, told how most of the families in the village sought refuge at her parents’ Joe and Lydia’s home when the typhoon hit last Friday. Among those who survived were her friends, three brothers, their wives and children. Her two sisters live in other parts of the country and also survived.
Mrs Hambrey and husband Les helped to pay for the brick house to be built about ten years ago in the municipality of Palompon, about 60 miles west of Tacloban City, Leyte Island, in which 10, 000 people alone are thought to have perished in high winds and flooding.
She added that her sister Sheilla text her last week from nearby Cebu Island to say she was safe but then did not hear from her for four days. She said: “My sister spent the last few days travelling over to my parents’ house and communications were down. When she got back to Cebu she managed to get a signal again and messaged me straight away.
“Thankfully the house is set back a little from the coast and it is largely made of brick. Only the kitchen was damaged because that wasn’t as sturdy. My sister said all the trees had blown down in the village.”
She added: “I am going to send money over in the hope that it reaches them because the concern now is all about food. I hope people donate to help my country.”
The Philippine government has so far only confirmed the deaths of a few hundred people throughout the country, but about 650, 000 are estimated to have been displaced. One of the worst storms on record, it caused six metre high waves to wash inland while high winds destroyed homes, schools and an airport in Tacloban.
Despite Red Cross aid efforts, thousands of people are struggling to survive as there is no clean water, electricity and very little food in the worst affected areas.
To make a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee Philippines Crisis Appeal visit http://www.dec.org.uk or call the 24 hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900.