Central Florida Filipinos look to help after typhoon kills thousands



ORLANDO, Fla. - Six days after Typhoon Haiyan struck in the Philippines, authorities have confirmed more than 2,300 people dead.

Some progress is being made in providing food, water and medical aid to the half-million people displaced, but local Filipino organizations in central Florida are stepping in to help.

News of loved ones has been slow for central Florida Filipinos like Irma Verity, who had to watch the devastation on television, thousands of miles away.

The last words Verity heard from her mother were, "I have to go help your brother. The roof is coming off."

That was two hours before Haiyan hit nearly a week ago.

"I tried to call her back and I can't get a hold of them anymore," said Verity. "They are old. They are 76 years old already, and my mom doesn't know how to swim."

On Thursday, the U.S. increased its presence in the Philippines with the arrival of the USS George Washington, a ship that can make 400,000 gallons of fresh water every day.

And in central Florida, Filipinos are already planning for the second wave of help.

"It's a horrific situation never before experienced in the Philippines," said Val Dagani of the Council For Filipino American Organizations.

Dagani told Channel 9 he's trying to raise local money in the weeks to come so the country won't see a lapse in aid once first responders leave. He's hoping his organization can send at least 10,000 <pounds or dollars?> through the Red Cross or through organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

"That goes a long way," said Dagani.

Verity said she hopes some of that money reaches her family soon because right now all she can do is imagine the worst.

HOW TO HELP: Helping typhoon survivors in the Philippines