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Md. Church Organizes Fundraiser For Victims Of Typhoon Haiyan

Many in our region with ties to the typhoon stricken island of the Philippines continue to wait for word about missing family and friends. Meanwhile, a church in Oxon Hill, Md. is planning a fundraiser for victims of typhoon Haiyan.

Mitz Tampil, a registered nurse, has lived in Maryland since 2003. Originally from the Philippines, most of Tampil's family still lives on the western portion of the island and survived the impact of the typhoon. However, days after the storm's landfall it is clear that Tampil's nephew who lives in the hard-hit city of Tacloban was missing and the search for him was not going well.

"They reached Tacloban at about 7 o'clock in the evening and they couldn't see anything so they had to turn back. Also there was now a risk in terms of some lawlessness going on, so they returned not knowing were my nephew is and right now we're still waiting to hear from him," he said.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino rejected early estimates of 10,000 dead, saying the final toll will be closer to 2,500. Tampil says that by now he expected to hear some word from his nephew.

"Knowing that he's an educated guy who's a computer expert, he could easily get in contact with the military or the Red Cross or other organizations to give us a sense of his safety, but nothing has happened so far," he said.

Meanwhile, there is growing concern for the 600,000 people left homeless by the typhoon. The United Nations is appealing for relief aid as debris and logistical tangles slow the trickle of supplies coming into the nation.

Pastor Arial Matira of the Oxon Hill Seventh Day Adventist Church intends to do what he can, and is organizing a fundraiser at the church beginning Saturday. Matira is asking for donations of food, clothing and portable shelters to aid the victims and he's made an appeal to any airline to help overcome transport logistics.

"If there's an airline company willing to transport those supplies going to the Philippines, that would be a huge support," he said.

Aid workers say they're guided by three priorities: establish access, offer immediate aid and then shelter.

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