Storm hits close to home for Tiffin man
Typhoon Haiyan, which caused severe damage to the Philippines earlier this month, affected the family of at least one Tiffin resident.
Heidelberg University professor and research scientist Remegio Confesor grew up in the small coastal town of Batad, 15 miles from Estancia in the northern part of Iloilo Province on Panay Island. Batad has a population of less than 50,000 people and is considered a fishing village, Confesor said.
The town was in the direct path of the storm and most of the structures were flattened, Confesor said.
Batad was one of many of the hardest hit cities, including Tacloban on Leyte Island, which has a population of more than 200,000 people.
“Almost all of the structures along the coastal villages were severely damaged if not washed away,” Confesor said. “My brother’s (who had settled in Estancia) house was partly damaged, but minor compared to others. No significant damage in my parent’s place, except for
some toppled trees.”
It was four or five days after the storm before Confesor was able to communicate with his family.
“I was anxious and concerned about my brother and parents,” he said. “My brother’s place was near the path of the eye of the storm. My parents are quite old and alone at their home where the storm hit. I called them a couple of hours before the full brunt of the storm, and at the time, the wind was already picking up. All I could do was pray that they survived the storm.”
Confesor moved to the United States in 1999 to attend Penn State University. He said he and his wife, Amor, survived a similar storm while they were living there in 1995.
Confessor said the Philippines are hit by about 20 storms a year, and 50 percent of them make landfall.
“The people are resilient and have adapted,” he said. “They go on and move on and are used to this kind of disaster.”
According to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, 3,976 people are confirmed dead in this latest storm, while 1,598 are missing and 18,175 are injured.
Confesor said the storm was compared to an F-3 tornado, with 15- to 30-foot waves.
He said he has sent his parents money and, once the roads and highways are cleared, he wants to help distribute basic supplies such as canned food, water, rice, medicine, matches and kerosene.
Confesor said he is looking to help in the reconstruction of damaged roofs and walls and book replacements and possible computer replacements in the schools.
For those interested in helping, monetary donations can be sent directly to the Philippine National Red Cross at www.redcross.org.ph/donate.