independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Dublin man says ten members of family are dead or missing following Typhoon Haiyan

A Filipino man living in Ireland has been dealt the devastating news that ten members of his family are dead and others are missing.

Jaime Casilian, a chef who has been living in Dublin for several years, was told by his sister that some of his family have been wiped out by Typhoon Haiyan.

Mr Casilian’s niece, aunt, uncle, and cousins were killed while more family members are still missing.

He told RTE’s Morning Ireland: “I [was] so shocked when I heard from her (his sister). It’s ten [dead] at the moment, and the rest is missing.”

“I was hoping that it would be only the material things that would be gone,” he said.

Mr Casilian’s family decided not to evacuate their homes, because they believed they were in a rocky area which would not be ravaged by the typhoon.

“Last Sunday morning my sister told me that she didn’t decide to leave the house…she underestimated the situation.”

A man points at one of the bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military.    REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco (PHILIPPINES - Tags: DISASTER ENVIRONMENT)
A man points at one of the bags containing bodies of typhoon victims in Tacloban city, which was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan, in central Philippines November 12, 2013. Rescue workers tried to reach towns and villages in the central Philippines on Tuesday that were cut off by the powerful typhoon, fearing the estimated death toll of 10,000 could jump sharply, as relief efforts intensified with the help of U.S. military.

“She told me the most important thing now is financial support. I told her ‘I know, I will try to do my best about that’. They need food, clothes, and money for temporary shelter now.”

“A plane ticket would be €600 to €1,000, but if I send that back home in the Phillipines, it would help my relatives over there.”

Mr Casilian said he cannot sleep or function properly knowing that so many of his family member are now dead.

“I have no idea how I can survive this situation. Even last night I wasn’t sleeping.”

“The first thing I can do is pray to God to give strength for my relatives over there now and to send them financial support.”

Mr Casilian said compared Haiyan to the devastating tsunami in Japan in 2011.

But he said: “In Japan there was only ten or 15 feet of water, but in my country there was 20 to 25 feet.”

“It’s absolutely devastating. You see the pictures, and you think ‘Oh Jesus Christ’.”

The United Nations has estimated at least 10,000 are feared dead, but it says this toll is expected to rise.

It is calling for “a huge international response”, as up to 10million people will be affected by the massive storm.

Mr Casilian’s birthplace in the Phillipines has been “erased on the map now”.

“Everyone is walking around like a zombie… it’s very, very sad.”

“Even myself, what am I supposed to do? I’m praying to God to give me strength.”

“Even [when I’m] driving, I’m just floating,” the Dublin man said.

By Geraldine Gittens

Irish Independent

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