Man with local ties describes devastation in Philippines
A man with Blackfoot ties is seeing the devastation of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
Jeffery Hammett, who is deputy headmaster at a school in the City of Biñan, said the entire country is affected by the storm.
"I think the hospitality of the Filipino people is one of the things that's known at least around Asia,” said the Blackfoot native over the phone. "They're the hospitality center of Southeast Asia for sure."
He said that hospitality is showing through with people all over the country.
"There are folks that have left their jobs here to go down to the area to search for relatives,” he said.
Hammett saw strong winds and rain where he lives, but he said the middle of the country has essentially been destroyed.
"There's no power, there's no water, there's no food, there's no shelter. All the basic elements of a normal life have been just ripped away."
He said he hopes people will continue to send aid.
"If it's not affecting you those you know directly, it's sort of like, 'Oh, well it's way over there,' and that's what it is." But he said to compare this to the devastation caused by
Hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy and the tsunami that hit Japan almost two years ago.
The U.S. is already in the Philippines, but he said the needs will change as recovery happens.
"But at some point, it's going to shift from food and water and medical supplies to rebuilding supplies," he said.
He also said a teacher at his school was found after days of searching – one body among 3,600, according to the Philippines Civil Defense Patrol.
We asked him if there was anything else he wanted to tell viewers.
"Hug your loved ones,” he said with some emotion. "We lost a lot of people. So give your loved ones a big hug."
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