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Filipinos in Indianapolis react to deadly Philippines typhoon

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Filipinos in Indianapolis said they are keeping a close watch a day after a typhoon killed more than two dozen people in the Philippines.

The strong typhoon that barreled through the central Philippines left at least 28 dead and 12 missing, and forced thousands to flee their homes, devastating Christmas celebrations in the predominantly Roman Catholic country, The Associated Press reported Thursday night.

Most of the deaths reported by police and local officials were due to drowning, falling trees and accidental electrocution.

The Philippines is used to being hit with severe tropical weather. But, the people connected to the country will never get used to the death and destruction. While the rush to donate and help is appreciated, some said, for these types of situations, financial support is best.

“Filipinos are very resilient as far as natural disasters we experience it on a yearly basis,” said Maria Manalang, program director for the International Marketplace in Indianapolis.

But in a largely Catholic country, Christmas may be why even more lives were not lost. “With Christmas Day happening, most of the people are in church and so the structure of the church is mostly much more solid than the houses,” she said.

Filipinos in Indianapolis said they’ve had trouble reaching family since the storm. But in a place like the Philippines so prone to severe tropical weather and for the people looking to reach family, it’s often a matter of learning to wait.

“So most of the people who live up in the mountains are the farming area. They may not have any kind of Internet.”

Manalang just came back from a monthlong visit in the Philippines.

“When I was there the typhoon hit as well but it wasn’t as bad. It just rained mostly.”

But, she said, history shows things can get bad. She recalled 2013’s Typhoon Yolanda that killed 10,000 people.

While many are quick to jump to help in a typhoon’s aftermath, creating multiple fundraisers isn’t the way to go. “What we would do is donate the money to the Red Cross,” Manalang said. “Just because it gets convoluted once you start sending money to the Philippines.”

In previous disasters, she said, many items meant to be shipped overseas never made it or the shipping and distribution created more challenges. So, even sending items like water isn’t advised. Money does the most good.

She said if you’d like to make a donation to the American Red Cross, make a notation on your donation that says it’s for Typhoon Ursula relief. The typhoon has also been called Typhoon Phanfone.