Hawaii Filipinos fear for relatives in path of super typhoon

Hawaii Filipinos fear for relatives in path of super typhoon
(Image: Imelda Gasmen)
(Image: Imelda Gasmen)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Super Typhoon Mangkhut made landfall in the northern part of the Philippines, packing winds clocked at 167 miles an hour.

It steamrolled through Cagayan province.

"Some of the schools are flooded. Most of the houses, the roofs have been swept away," said Pia Arboleda, of the UH Center for Philippine Studies.

She was getting Facebook updates from relatives in the hard hit areas.

Imelda Gasmen worried for her family and friends back home.

"The roofs in some of the schools in that area are just gone. It's sad," she said.

Mangkhut rolled onto land Saturday morning Philippines time as a monster system. Effects were felt as far away as Manila, more than 200 miles from the storm's center.

"It's bigger than Florence and I think Florence was the biggest in the Atlantic. This is probably the biggest one of the season," National Weather Service meteorologist Chevy Chevalier said.

The northern Philippines is largely farmland.

Some estimate upwards of $100 million worth of crops will be destroyed.

"The farmers say that rice is still not ripe for harvest. They're trying to salvage whatever they could ahead of the storm," said Roberto Bernardo, consul at the Philippine Consulate in Honolulu.

Gasmen received photographs from Ilocos Norte. One showed a flattened service station. Others showed homes and storefronts mangled by Mangkhut's gale force winds.

Thousand evacuated ahead of the storm but Philippine officials expect up to 5 million people to be directly impacted.

"We are prepared to raise funds," Arboleda said. "The problem with disasters like this is not the relief, it's the rehabilitation weeks later after the initial typhoon strikes."

"As the Philippine Consulate we can help Filipinos here in Hawaii who have relatives in the affected areas by relaying communication and concerns that they have to their relatives," Bernardo said.

The Philippines sees on average of 20 typhoons a year. Super typhoon Mangkhut is the strongest to make landfall on Luzon in nearly a decade.

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