Weather Forecast


Battered by Haiyan

A student inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines in Manila prepares disaster relief packages before distributing them after a typhoon hit Nov. 7. The Pacific nation faces an enormous rebuilding task from Typhoon Haiyan, known locally as Yolanda. (Reuters photo)

In early November, Typhoon Haiyan tore through Southeast Asia killing thousands and wreaking billions of dollars in damage. Among the areas most devastated was the central island of Leyte in the Philippines — home to several relatives of Red Wing’s Charito Abando-Norman.

“It was hit pretty hard,” Abando-Norman said. “They literally have nothing.”

Abando-Norman is asking the community for help with donations of dried food and supplies that she can ship to her family members overseas. A donation drop off bin has been set up in the First Lutheran Church narthex, 615 W. Fifth St.

Specifically, Abando-Norman is looking for basic necessities like tents, sleeping bags, shoes, slippers, gloves, masks, blankets and non-perishable food items.

She said please no cash donations.

Additionally, with the rainy season in the Philippines beginning in January, Abando-Norman said her family will need mosquito nets, repellent, ponchos and umbrellas.

Not only are mosquitos a problem this time of year, but Abando-Norman said the sad reality is that the bodies of storm victims and widespread debris have attracted a lot of flies and other insects.

With communication infrastructure on the island brought down during the storm, Abando-Norman said she didn’t learn about her family’s condition until a cousin could fly in from Singapore to check on everyone. She has been corresponding with the cousin on Facebook to get status updates and find out where to send the donated goods.

Her family members are currently living out of a local Philippines church, Abando-Norman said.

She added that she will continue to collect supplies for at least the next few months, as the scale of the damage means rebuilding will be a long process.

“It’s going to take years to recover,” Abando-Norman said.

On behalf of her family, Abando-Norman said she would like to thank the community for any support. “It really means a lot to them.”

Michael Brun

Michael Brun joined RiverTown Multimedia at the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2013, covering county government, health and local events.  He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls journalism program.

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