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Helping those involved with Typhoon Haiyan

PRINCETON — Typhoon Haiyan reportedly has affected 4.3 million people across 36 provinces in central Philippines.

The typhoon swept through the area on Friday, bringing with it sustained winds reported in excess of 145 miles per hour.

The American Red Cross has reported Haiyan as the second Category 5 typhoon to strike the Philippines this year.

According to the American Red Cross website, Philippine Red Cross volunteers have reported significant damage and a growing death toll.

As of Monday morning, 1,200 evacuation centers were housing more than 330,000 people left homeless by the storm.

Bureau County residents who are interested in making a donation to help disaster relief efforts can donate $10 by texting REDCROSS to 90999. Through the texting option, the donation is added to the mobile phone bill or deducted from a prepaid balance.

Bureau County Red Cross Director Lori Compton was not available for comment by press time, but in a past disaster relief situation, she encouraged Bureau County residents to support the Red Cross disaster relief effort. She explained in the past for those writing checks to the Red Cross, it’s important to write “Disaster Relief” on the memo line of the check, and not to designate the money to any specific relief effort.

While communication is very limited in the hardest hit communities within the Philippines, the American Red Cross has sent more than two telecommunication specialists and a satellite system.

The Red Cross has also activated its family tracing services. Those who are looking for a missing family member are reminded many phone lines are down. The Red Cross encourages family members to continue trying to contact a family member who is in the affected Philippines area.

If unable to reach someone, citizens are asked to contact their local chapter of the American Red Cross to initiate a tracing case.

The inquiries must involve people living in the affected areas who were in regular contact with relatives in the United States during the past 12 months. The service is only for inquiries involving family members who are not U.S. citizens, according to the American Red Cross website.

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