ELKHART — Edna Padilla can breathe easy. Easier, anyway.
On Thursday, the Filipino-American finally made contact with family living in Naval, an area of the Philippines hit last week by Typhoon Haiyan. The operator of a Filipino grocery and eatery here — featured in a story in Wednesday’s print edition of The Elkhart Truth — had been unable to reach them since Nov. 5.
“They are all OK. Nobody’s hurt, nobody’s wounded,” she said Friday, Nov. 15.
Still, it’s hardly downhill from here on out. Though Naval, Padilla’s hometown, didn’t sustain as much damage as the hardest-hit zones like Tacloban to the southeast, it suffered. And many remain without a reliable supply of food, water and power.
Padilla said it may be a month or so before people in Naval can start rebuilding in earnest, after power is restored and sufficient supplies arrive in the city. In the meantime, she and other family here will try to raise funds to help the effort there.
Padilla’s sister-in-law, an uncle, a nephew and other family members have all moved in to one family member’s home, which survived the typhoon late last week relatively unscathed.
Before making contact Thursday, Padilla and her sister, Gina Sandefur, had been calling Naval daily to try to reach family there. Their kin in the Philippines finally made contact after driving about an hour from Naval to an area with cell phone coverage.
Padilla and Sandefur operate the Shekinah Asian Grocery Store and Deli on S.R. 19.
The American Red Cross operates a program to help family connect with missing loved ones in disaster zones, called Restoring Family Links. Those seeking loved ones contact their local Red Cross office and word is sent to Red Cross reps in impacted areas to be on the lookout.
Fran Dutton, international caseworker at the Elkhart County American Red Cross office, said a Goshen woman has sought assistance tracking down a family member in the Philippines through the service. Call the local Red Cross office at 293-6519 for more information.