News / Calgary

Calgary woman narrowly missed 'Act of nature,' fears for family in Philippines

Annabelle Bedrejo got out of the Philippines in the nick of time.

The day she flew out of the capital, Manila, Typhoon Haiyan roared ashore, killing at least 10,000 and destroying countless more homes, shelters and other buildings.

Two days prior to her departure, Bedrejo, a Filipino native who lives and works in Calgary as a travel agent, had been sleeping in the lower floor of her family beach house in Cadiz City. The massive storm, likely the largest to strike the southeast Asian island country, "totalled" that level of the property, blowing out glass windows and throwing the bed she'd been resting on 50 feet.

Annabelle and husband Ricardo spent the weekend getting in touch with dozens, if not hundreds, of family members in the affected areas. So far, it appears all made it out of the terrifying ordeal with their lives, but many have lost homes, possessions and have nowhere to go.

"It's just awful," she said Monday from the safety of her home in Calgary. "My heart aches for those people. This was an act of nature. I am feeling lucky, yes, but also unlucky because I know a lot of my family (members) are suffering right now."

Since she fled the country, Annabelle said the majority of flights in and out of the Philippines have been suspended and power hasn't been restored to much of the affected area.

"Had I been there, having grown up here, I wouldn't know what to do," she conceded.

Elsewhere in Calgary, volunteers with Samaritan's Purse crowded into a warehouse to pack 6,000 hygiene kits complete with shampoo, soap, toothbrushes and other amenities.

“Those hygiene kits are so essential after a disaster like this because the potential for disease to spread is enormous,” said organization spokesperson Jeff Adams. “I think a lot of Albertans can understand this after going through the flood last June — they knew what their homes looked like afterwards with all the mud everywhere. Now, just imagine you have a one-storey hut that you’re living in when something like this came through.”

Early estimates suggest Typhoon Haiyan has forced as many as 750,000 people have been forced from their homes.

Help and support

  • Samaritan's Purse spokesperson Jeff Adams said the organization will source a great deal of relief from areas much closer to the typhoon-ravaged Philippines and encouraged people to donate by calling 1-800-663-6500 or by visiting samaritanspurse.ca.
  • People can also donate through the Red Cross by calling 1-800-418-1111 or visiting redcross.ca.
  • Telus was also offering free phone calls from landlines to the Philippines from Alberta.

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