Typhoon victim’s fears for her family

At the Liberty Bar in Doncaster is chef Helen Strickland. (Buy this photo D1601TS) Picture: Tony Saxton
At the Liberty Bar in Doncaster is chef Helen Strickland. (Buy this photo D1601TS) Picture: Tony Saxton

A chef whose home was devastated in Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines says she fears for her family’s future following the disaster.

Helen Strickland’s family were caught up in the disaster that also destroyed part of her property in Leyte.

Mrs Strickland, who has lived in Doncaster for the past 27 years said she now fears for her nephew Johnston and his family who are struggling to cope in the aftermath,

She said: “Johnston has lost his job at the factory he works at was damaged and the crops at his home have been washed away.

“There is nothing for them to eat and my sister-in-law Mercy and her children are getting ill because of the disease spreading, it’s awful.”

Around 5,200 people are now known to have lost their lives in the typhoon, with many more still missing.

Mrs Strickland has struggled to get in touch with her nephew to find out how his family are continuing to cope as the power lines are down.

Instead the 52-year-old has been forced to rely on regular updates from her niece who lives in another part of the country that has not been as severely affected.

Mrs Strickland who works at Liberty Bar & Grill in Wood Street said: “When I first found out what had happened I was so angry and upset.

“I didn’t eat anything for days because I was so knotted up inside.

“I cried for a week I just felt so helpless and upset, I felt like I was sinking and I didn’t know what to do.

“After this I said to myself I have to be strong and just try and help.”

Helen, who regularly sends money home to support her family has been digging deep in a bid to support her family.

“One of the main things is being able to provide food and medicine for them, that’s what they desperately need.

“There is so much poverty in the country and this has made things so much harder.

“My heart is cut to pieces I just want to help as much as I can but I do feel helpless.

“It is hard because I am having to rely on updates from my niece at the minute.”

In a bid to help Helen’s boss David McEvoy organised a charity music night which raised £1000 for the Doctors Without Borders charity that is giving aid to the country.

“I was so thankful to David and people have been very kind.”

Helen plans to retire to the Philippines where she says she will dedicate her time to helping people.

She said: “I feel like it is my purpose to help the poor people in my country, I am not rich but what I have I want to use what I have to help others.” To donate visit www.msf.org.uk/‎