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Emergency Aid Increasing in Philippines

Emergency relief crews are trying to speed up aid efforts in the Philippines.
STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Emergency relief crews are trying to speed up aid efforts in the Philippines.

Hundreds of thousands of people are still without food, shelter and water. Wrecked airports and blocked roads are making it difficult to get victims help.

Filipino authorities have revised the estimated death toll from 10,000 to about 2,500.

The storm destroying tens of thousands of buildings and displacing about 600,000 people.

Local relief organizations in our region are reaching out to help.

They say the best thing to do now is donate money to your local American Red Cross chapter, who will send the money to the Philippines American Red Cross.

So far, relief efforts have been slow as volunteers in the Philippines continue to sort through the damage.

"The typhoon caused huge devastation, so obviously access has been a problem," Nick Osborne, Vice President of Program, Partnerships, Learning and Advocacy for CARE, said.

Osborne is urging people to help.

"We're starting to see the response gear up, both from the government and from other agencies," he said.

Hundreds of thousands are still without shelter, food and water after Typhoon Haiyan ripped through the central Philippines last Friday.

Penn State students with family there say the devastation is indescribable.

"Even rescue workers and the Red Cross have been trying to get in there, but it's been very difficult because of all the obstacles in place," Gabrielle Pangahas said.

Her family missed the brunt of the typhoon, but say the damage is widespread.

"It's devastating for everyone, just to see this happen," Pangahas said. "To see the amount of lives that have been lost, it's just heartbreaking."

"I haven't seen anything like this," Ruth Markle, Executive Coordinator for the State College American Red Cross chapter, said.

Markle has worked for the Red Cross for 18 years. She's never seen a storm this bad. She say American Red Cross organizations across the nation have reached out to help, but so far, it's been difficult to send aid.

"Until relief organizations actually have people on the ground and can get to places to find what's really going on, I don't think we have anything planned," she said.

She says at this point, the best way to help is monetarily, and says every bit helps.

"$10, in this country, we may not think it goes very far," she said. "But in a country like the Philippines, it will go very far."

Members of the Penn State Filipino Association will host a relief benefit concert Wednesday, December 4th in Heritage Hall of the HUB-Robeson center on the university's main campus. There is no charge for admission, but donations are welcomed and encouraged. The time of the concert is still being determined, but will likely start between 6:00 and 7:00 P.M.

To make a monetary donation through the Red Cross, you can call 1-800-RED-CROSS and make a contribution with a credit card, or you can go to redcross.org and make an online payment. You may also send a check to your local American Red Cross chapter.
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