Typhoon Haiyan devastates Philippines

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On Nov. 8, Typhoon Haiyan hit the Philippines.

Although no greater in magnitude than Hurricane Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast including New York City in late 2012, the typhoon left the island devastated.

Several poorly structured buildings crumbled due to the high wind forces. Many people are without clean water and electricity and little or no access to hospitals or food.

While the event happened far away, Stockton’s abundant Filipino community has taken action to help those impacted by the disaster.

For Stockton resident Voltaire Hortizuela the devastation of the Philippines has brought sadness to him and his family.

“I am a first generation Filipino-American, my parents were both born in the Philippines,” Hortizuela said.

Hortizuela’s father moved to Stockton in 1982. His mother followed in 1993.

His mother and father still have family in the Philippines.

“When we first saw the footage we all started crying, seeing all of those people dig through the rubble to find loved ones and seeing entire areas washed away was devastating,” Hortizuela said.

The typhoon severely damaged power lines and cell towers, making contact nearly impossible.

“We were immediately worried about our [family’s] safety, when a typhoon hits you can never know how hard it’ll hit or how far the damage will spread,” Hortizuela said.

Hortizuela’s family is located in the northern Philippines. Haiyan largely impacted the southern and central portion of the Philippines.

“I was especially relieved when I heard they were okay because my moms parents are getting older and have been having a hard time getting around, so when we heard they were safe we were so relieved,” Hortizuela said.

Although Hortizuela and his family know their family is safe they still have donated money to various charities so others can be aided.

“My parents have donated to the Red Cross, Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund and the Cabanayan Organization Fun,” Hortizuela said.

Although the Philippines is struggling now, Hortizuela said we shouldn’t count the Philippines out.

“We may be down right now but we’re headed back up and Filipino people are so kind hearted, loving and caring that we will surpass this unfortunate disaster,” Hortizuela said.