4/17/2014

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Local

'I don't even want to look at the photos, because it's heartbreaking'

'I don't even want to look at the photos, because it's heartbreaking'

PORTLAND, Ore. – The images of the devastation from the typhoon in the Philippines is so vast, so complete that a Portland woman had to stop watching the news while she waited for word if her mother, brother and sister were alive.

"Sometimes I don't even want to look at the photos, because it's heartbreaking," says Myra Jerome who was born in the Philippines. "I've seen a photo – I'm assuming it was a dad and a little girl – they were still holding hands. They were laying on the ground. And there's so many. And I can't imagine going through that."

Five days after that deadly typhoon, aid is finally trickling into the hardest hit areas.

The aircraft carrier USS George Washington is on its way. It's carrying helicopters and equipment to provide fresh water. And the U.S. Navy says other ships are on the way as well.

The U.N. humanitarian chief is appealing for $300 million to help more than 11 million Filipinos affected by the storm.

The death toll stands at about 2,500 people, but that number could climb.

Members of the Filipino community in Portland are just now getting word whether their families survived.

Jerome lives in Portland with her 3-year-old daughter, Jasmine, who's too young to understand what's happened.

She's young enough that she hasn't had a chance to meet her grandma, Jerome's mother, who lives near her brother and sister in a home on a small island in the Philippines hit hard by the storm.

On Monday, she finally got a message from her sister on Facebook. She told Jerome that the house is gone and that they're sleeping on the ground.

"They have a mat or something, but they have nothing," Jerome says. "No roof. No walls. Nothing."

The Filipino American Center is hosting a fundraiser Friday night. It's a spaghetti dinner with all proceeds going to victims of the typhoon.
 
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