Hotline setup to find missing loved ones in Philippines - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Hotline setup to find missing loved ones in Philippines

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

George and Martino Redona have been waiting to hear if their 78-year old parents survived Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The brothers have been watching news stories online and on television.  They've also been checking Facebook pages that list the names of survivors.

Monday, three days after Haiyan hit, the Redonas got the message they've been waiting for.  They found someone in the Philippines who agreed to walk to the town of Tanauan, near Tacloban.  That person sent a message that their parents did indeed survive. 

"What a relief," says George Redona.  But he is still worried because food and water are scarce and his father had a stroke last year, so he is bedridden.

The Hawaii Red Cross is trying to reconnect others in a similar way.  The Red Cross set up a tracing service hotline. 

Hawaii residents can call 739-8115. 

A caseworker will get the address and phone number of the missing and pass that information to the American Red Cross office on the east coast.  It will then go to a volunteer worker on the ground in the Philippines.  But it could take days, even weeks for that volunteer to track the person.   And, the system isn't ready yet. 

The Red Cross sent telecommunications specialist with a full satellite system package to the Philippines to establish basic communication.  Until that is done, the volunteers on the ground can't get the information.

The Redonas are hoping they will be able to get to the Philippines soon so they can bring their parents -- who have dual citizenship -- back to Hawaii.  

In the meantime, they are hoping to get a message to them, that they are thinking about them.

"To give them hope, slight hope is such a big difference now," says Martino.

If you want to help the victims of Super Typhoon Haiyan, log on to redcross.org, or call 800-REDCROSS. 

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