Lehigh Valley

Local Red Cross helping locate people after typhoon

Thousands killed in the Philippines

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The American Red Cross is helping local people concerned about loved ones in the Philippines following the typhoon that hit that country.

It has activated its family tracing services to help people locate missing family members.

Anyone seeking information about Filipinos or other non-U.S. citizens should contact Jen Pierce, international services director at the Red Cross' Northeast Pennsylvania region office at 610-865-4400, ext. 221, or via cell at 610-216-6901.

Local resident concerned about U.S. citizens in the Philippines should call the U.S. Department of State's Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747.

For initial information about making a financial donations to help the typhoon victims, call 1-800-REDCROSS or check online. More information about making cash contributions  will be available soon from the Red Cross.

The storm affected 9.5 million people across 36 provinces in the Philippines. An estimated 10,000 people were killed.

 Some 1,400 evacuation centers are housing more than 330,000 people left homeless.

While communications in the Philippines are limited and many areas remain inaccessible, Philippine Red Cross volunteer rescue and relief teams are working quickly to provide assistance to communities with search and rescue, as well as distributing food and relief supplies to survivors.

"Assessment of the damage and destruction has begun, search and rescue teams have been deployed and emergency supplies are ready to be distributed to those in the worst hit areas. Thousands of people are likely to be left without food, shelter and water," said Bernd Schell of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies who is currently in the Philippines.

With a long history of partnership with the Philippines Red Cross, the American Red Cross mobilized quickly to deploy four disaster specialists with expertise in relief, information management and telecommunications to support relief efforts. The Red Cross has also activated its family tracing services to help people locate missing family members.

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