VIDEO

Typhoon Haiyan: Filipinos in Singapore rush to help victims back home

Filipina Elvie Madahan (above) has only $50 in savings but that is not stopping the maid in Singapore sending the money back to family members affected by Typhoon Haiyan. -- ST PHOTO: AMELIA TAN
Filipina Elvie Madahan (above) has only $50 in savings but that is not stopping the maid in Singapore sending the money back to family members affected by Typhoon Haiyan. -- ST PHOTO: AMELIA TAN

Filipina Elvie Madahan has only $50 in savings but that is not stopping the maid in Singapore sending the money back to family members affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

She told The Straits Times on Tuesday that her younger brother's house in Capiz Province, which is an hour by plane from Ground Zero Tacloban, was completely destroyed.

The damage to her own home was less serious - only the kitchen was affected.

"My brother's house is made of bamboo. The rain and wind completely destroyed it. My house is made of concrete so its stronger," she said at Western Union money transfer service at Lucky Plaza.

"I told my brother not to worry, that I will work and send money back to him to rebuild his house."

Ms Madahan, 32, who is single, has worked in Singapore the last eight years. She had just changed employers and had had to spend her savings on the transfer fees, leaving her with little.

Other Filipinos whose homes are near Tacloban said the last few days have been nerve-racking. They have been trying frantically to contact their families but the telephone connections at the typhoon-hit areas have been down.

Mrs Marilyn Rapisura, 42, whose home is in La Union province in Southern Philippines, said she had been trying to call her four children since the storm struck on Friday but only heard from them on Sunday when her daughter sent her a text message.

"I was crying and not able to sleep for those few days. All I could do was pray to God to take care of my children," said the widow.

Mrs Rapisura, who was at Western Union, was sending money back to her children to buy food. Food prices in the Philippines is soaring because many people are starting to hoard rice and water, she said.