Topekan Waiting To Hear From Filipino Family In Typhoon

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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW)- Reports say Typhoon Haiyan is one of the most intense typhoons ever recorded on Earth. It struck the Philippines, triggering flash floods and killing thousands and the devastation has hit home in Topeka.

Gisel Redondo says she normally calls her sisters every 2 days and she never thought their constant communication would be interrupted by this horrible storm.

It's been 4 days since Typhoon Haiyan struck Tacloban, Philippines with 195mph winds.

Since then, Topekan Gisel Redonodo, born and raised in the Philippines, has been trying to contact her family members in the nearby town of Burauen.

"It's going to be a while before they turn back on the power, and cell phones and all that is off," says Gisel.

She has 3 sisters who live in Burauen, and a niece who was attending college in Tacloban. She talked to them minutes before the typhoon hit last week and hasn't had any contact with them since.

"'Please try again later'...that's all i hear," says Gisel as she holds her phone, "it's scary, you know, not knowing what is going on."

Gisel says her brother-in-law, Darwin, is driving from Manila to Tacloban to try and locate their family members. She hasn't heard from him since Monday. Her only source of contact is her other sister living in Manila.

She called her, "have you heard from Darwin?" she asks, "nothing?"

Gisel says all she can do is continue to watch the news and wait by her phone.

"I just want to hear that they are okay, they're alive, and I just want to know if my family there is okay," says Gisel.

U.S. Marines, military veterans and volunteers are in the Philippines providing aid and search and rescue efforts. And a team from territorial headquarters in Manila are also assisting in relief efforts.

Tuesday, the official death toll is near 1,800.