Local filipino school teacher learns family is alive

Southern Hills Elementary School Teacher Geronimo Vallecera hears from his family in the Philippines.

Locally, Filipinos are finally hearing from relatives in some of the most devastated areas.

After two days of searching, Southern Hills Elementary School Teacher Geronimo Vallecera
learned Sunday night his six sisters and his father survived Typhoon Haiyan. One of his sisters lives in Tacloban, where more than 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed.

“Yes, I am so happy my sister survived, but knowing a lot did not, I could not celebrate
to the fullest. I just knew that my sister survived,  how about the rest of my family?” said

One of his sisters told him she saw nothing but bodies when her motorcycle finally arrived
in Tacloban.

“She told me she saw dead bodies on the wall, hanging from the ceiling, some were in the
car, and there were cadavers everywhere in the street. “

While $20 million worth of American aid is headed toward the Philippines, Vallecera
worries about his family being able to survive the next couple days.

“I’ve seen on the news some people are opening stores, some people are looting grocery
stores, aside from the fact that they may run out of  food and water, they’re also scared for their lives because it’s chaotic.”

Many businesses with Filipino ties are pitching in to help.

Red Mango, located at 7460 Youree Drive, is owned and run by a Filipinos. It is hosting a fundraiser for the Philippines Saturday, November 23, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. A portion of
the proceeds will be donated to relief efforts.

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