Locals Worry as Typhoon Haiyan Slams Philippines

Wind gusts up to 200 miles per hour swept the country

By Brian Thompson and Brynn Gingras
|  Friday, Nov 8, 2013  |  Updated 9:22 PM EDT
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Hours after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines, worried friends and family in the tri-state area are waiting for updates from the area devastated by what's being called the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Brian Thompson has the story.

NBC 4 New York

Hours after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines, worried friends and family in the tri-state area are waiting for updates from the area devastated by what's being called the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Brian Thompson has the story.

Photos and Videos

New Yorkers Worry as Typhoon Haiyan Slams Phillippines

Hours after Typhoon Haiyan made landfall in the Phillippines, worried friends and family in the tri-state area are waiting for updates from the area. Brynn Gingras reports

Raw Video: Powerful Typhoon Causes Widespread Damage

The strongest typhoon to hit the Philippines this year caused widespread damage across the country on Friday, uprooting trees and sending locals running for cover.
More Photos and Videos

Hours after Typhoon Haiyan slammed the Philippines, worried friends and family in the tri-state area are waiting for updates from the area devastated by what's being called the strongest storm ever to make landfall.

About 10 million people live on the central island, where evacuations were ordered. People fled to storm shelters or safer ground before the intense rain and winds of up 200 miles per hour battered the islands. It's still unclear how much damage has been done. 

In Jersey City, the large Filipino community were following the harrowing developments.

"We've been praying that we would not be having this typhoon so badly, and you know, people die," said Domenica Fallarme.

"I just can't believe that right now. It's like a ghost town now," said Angelica Giron of Jersey City, who has relatives on one island. 

While the Philippines are used to strong typhoons, Haiyan is the strongest this year, and on Giron's island, it follows another natural disaster, an earthquake.

"I talked to a friend of mine earlier," she said. "They said they don't have any electricity until Monday." 

Leah Cohen of New York has been waiting to hear from her father in the Philippines. 

"I just look at my iPhone and check for updates, and I text with my mom, who's been texting with my dad," said Cohen, who runs a restaurant on the Lower East Side. 

"There's no way people aren't going to be affected by flooding," said Leah's brother Joshua Cohen. "There's no escape from the ocean, from the winds, from the rain."

EJ Ignacio says his grandparents' home is also at risk.  

"So far, so good. I haven't heard from them all day today, so I've been out and about, but I'm praying that everyone is OK," he said.

But it's likely the area's infrastructure won't be OK -- it's not strong enough to withstand the 200 mile-per-hour wind gusts, and the devastation could be catastrophic. 

"The infrastructure is not as developed as we have here in the United States, and in that particular region, it's probably more underdeveloped," said Rolando Lavarro, Jersey City council president. 

Rescue efforts are already underway in scenes reminiscent of what the tri-state went through after Sandy. 

"If Sandy could devastate New York City and the Lower East Side, what would a storm of that equivalent do in a country that doesn't have the same level of infrastructure?" said Joshua Cohen.

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