At least 33 people are dead following Super Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines early Friday morning.
According to weather officials, the typhoon had wind gusts up to 235 miles per hour and sustained winds up to 195 mph. Hundreds of thousands of people were evacuated, some even before the storm hit.
Since the typhoon has knocked out power to several areas, people have not been able to communicate with their families.
Abileneian EvaLyn Willis grew up in the Philippines and said she has not had an update on her family since last night.
“I tried every number I could get, Facebook, Skype,” Willis said. ”Nobody is available so I just don't think they have any service or anything out there right now, everything is down.”
Willis said she has about 30 family members still living in the Philippines. Her birth mother is among them.
“I try not to think about it, like to the point where I'm going to cry, but right now it's so bad that I just don't know—there's no information or anything—so I can't check up on them,” Willis said. “That's really worrying…you don't know if they're hurt, if they’re alive.”
Willis said typhoons are inevitable in the region, but the magnitude of Haiyan left her feeling helpless.
“The last time the other typhoon hit, they were telling me that they lost everything, they didn't have enough rescue teams out there, they were stuck on their roofs [with] no blankets,” Willis said. “One of my cousins has cerebral palsy and she needs medicine and stuff like that—with everything that's going on, it's so hard for them to get anywhere.”
Willis said right now all she can do is keep trying to get in touch with her family and hope people send relief and prayers their way.
In 1990, a major typhoon hit the Philippines and killed more than 500 people and left 246 unaccounted for.
Global Samaritan Resources of Abilene is accepting only monetary donations. To donate, click here.