Hawaii man connects with wife in Philippines

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The death toll from the typhoon in the Philippines has jumped to nearly 4,000. International aid is still coming into the region, but tens of thousands of survivors are still waiting to see it. The president of the Philippines, however, is defending relief efforts saying they are doing everything they can considering the magnitude of the devastation.

Here in Hawaii some were still waiting to hear from loved ones including a Pearl City man whose wife is in the Philippines.

Edward and Lucila Santiago have been married six years, but for Edward the last week has felt like an eternity.

Seeing all the death and destruction in the Philippines has been agonizing for Edward Santiago.

"I just pray to God that everything goes well with everybody over there. Not only my wife but all the humans that are living over there, all God's children," said Edward Santiago.

His wife Lucila flew over to Bataan a month ago for the anniversary of her parent's death. Then Typhoon Haiyan hit. Lucila is supposed fly home Saturday but Edward isn't sure if she'll be able to get to Manila.

"She's the first thing we thought of when we heard of the storm. It was about my wife and if she was alright," said Santiago. "There are so many things I want to say to her. The only real thing I want to say to her is I love you and I really did miss you a long time."

He gave it another try to call her when we were with him this afternoon and as fate would have it he got through.

"How are you doing? How you doing Lucy? You okay? You sure? You sound a little sick," went the first part of the phone conversation.

He confirmed she will be on the flight arriving in Honolulu Saturday afternoon. The connection was delayed and cut in and out.

"I'll talk to you tomorrow. I love you and miss you," said Edward Santiago.

"Yeah right," laughed Lucila.

While she is on her way back. Dozens boxes will be on their way to the Philippines. They're part of the various relief efforts. People can drop off donations at St. Anthony's Church at 640 Puuhale Road in Kalihi or at the LBC location at 2146 Kamehameha Highway in Kalihi and they'll ship it over for free.

"The donation goes to our LBC Foundation and then from the Philippines to our foundation they will turn it over to the Philippines National Red Cross to disseminate," said Elma Boter, LBC. "Mostly people are bringing blankets, towels, clothes, toiletries because those are the very important things people need and also canned goods."

It's not the first time LBC has helped in a crisis because its evident disasters bring out the emotions in people.

"Oh boy I'm relieved. My wife is okay. Thank God," said Edward Santiago.

The Hawaii Red Cross continues to help as well. It is also accepting donations and is helping Hawaii families locate loved ones. So far 64 cases have been opened and 10 families have spoken with relatives in the Philippines.