Hawaii Red Cross helps families locate typhoon survivors in Philippines

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii Red Cross continues to assist those looking for missing family members in the Philippines.

So far, 64 cases have been submitted for the tracing process and 10 cases have been closed because local families have been able to contact their loved ones. The family tracing services hotline is: (808) 739-8115, and callers should leave a message with their name and phone number so a caseworker can return their call. Callers will be asked to give the full name, address, and telephone number of the missing person. The Hawaii Red Cross will forward inquiries to the American National Red Cross, which is working with the Philippine Red Cross to locate family members. Disasters like Typhoon Haiyan wreak havoc on telecommunications systems, making it difficult for separated families to find one another. Part of the mission of the Red Cross is to reconnect families who have been separated by disaster or conflict.

The global Red Cross network is responding to emergency needs in the Philippines with food, water, and relief supplies, and the American Red Cross is lending people, expertise, and equipment to this effort. A team of five disaster specialists from the American Red Cross deployed today to the Philippines to join a 15-member global Red Cross Emergency Response Team to assist with distributing relief supplies to affected communities. This new team is in addition to four American Red Cross specialists who are already in the Philippines, focusing on assessment and telecommunications.

While relief efforts are well underway, blocked roads, destroyed infrastructure and downed communication lines have made the response particularly challenging. Airports have resumed operations and more roads and bridges are now passable, but fuel and vehicle shortages continue to hinder access to affected areas that lack food and water. This is typical of major disasters both internationally and in the U.S. The Philippine Red Cross is leading this response effort and has begun distributions of relief supplies and provided meals to people affected by the storm. The Philippine Red Cross is the largest humanitarian organization in the country, with 1,000 Philippine Red Cross staff and an estimated 500,000 active volunteers are engaged in response to this emergency.

Those who wish to donate to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines can mail a check to the Hawaii Red Cross office made payable to "American Red Cross" and indicate in the memo line "Philippine Typhoon" or make a donation at redcross.org or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS. For corporate or larger community fundraising events, please call (808) 739-8133.

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