Published 12/11/2013 | 08:51
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.”
“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