ASU Filipino Students Concerned About Families In Philippines


By Catalina Trivino

Three international students at Alabama State University say they're waiting to hear from some of their own family members in the Philippines, after a the strongest typhoon in history turns entire towns into rubble. At least 1,700 people are dead -- but the death toll is expected to reach 10,000. The students just hope their family members aren't among the victims.

Those three Alabama State University students say what worries them most? Is silence. They're thousands of miles away as their families are left picking up the pieces left by the deadly typhoon... and all they can do is wait for answers.

D'Jon-Iva Santos, Marjorie Espina and Marianne Faustino all have family in the Philippines -- and with power and phone lines down, they all have growing concerns about where some of them are.

Faustino says she's only heard from her brother on Facebook...

"I haven't talked to my brother these past two weeks, but I believe he is fine because he's in the zone and I believe that there's a warning number in the Philippines that counts one to four," Said Faustino.

Four is the worst on the scale. Faustino's brother lives in Parañaque and their severity level is a two.

Santos says she's checking her cellphone and staying online -- she's missing several family members, including aunts and uncles. And the only way she's able to find out the status of her family is through relatives from Manilla -- that's about 500 miles away from where the storm hit.

"We can't even call them. The phone lines are gone. Forget about mail. Either we go by what the family in Manilla says hoping that they got in touch with somebody or we just pray they find a way to get in touch," Said Santos.

And Espina says she has family in and near the hardest-hit areas. Her relatives were left with their home torn apart, but she's happy to know they're still alive. But in order to move forward, Espina says it's prayer and community effort that could help the Philippines move forward.

"Really can't do anything about it like we can't be there to help people because we are here and it's really hard to go home, but what we can do right now is like we want to help," Said Espina.

And help is exactly what some of their fellow students are trying to do -- so the Student Government Association says they'll be getting together to discuss what they can do to help with relief.

Troy University also has a large international base. School officials say they will be discussing how to help with relief efforts during tonight's Student Government Meeting, as well.

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