The Filipino Store on Des Moines’ south side is always a popular gathering spot for the estimated 3,000 Filipinos who call the metro home.
There has been extra traffic this week.
Many are stopping by to share their concerns and speak about family members on the islands that have been hit the hardest.
“They say it’s very bad over there. Very bad,” said Banilda Roberts, co-owner of the Filipino Store.
Banilda Roberts and Goy Fieser have both lived in the U.S. for about twenty years now, but grew up in the Philippines.
Neither are strangers to typhoons.
“I did evacuate twice. When I was ten years old, our island got hit,” said Fieser.
They say the storms hit the islands more than twenty times each year.
However neither have seen a storm anything like this.
“It’s scary. The houses that we have just fell down. Everything is all gone,” Fieser said.
Even though their friends and family survived, the two are considering ways to help others who weren’t so lucky.
To help victims of past typhoons and earthquakes, Iowa’s Filipino community has come together to raise money and send boxes of canned goods and clothes to the islands.
This week, they’ll be planning similar fundraisers.
“We’re trying to get together and help with the calamity that is happening there,” said Fieser.
They hope their efforts will bring a glimmer of hope to people who have lost everything.
If you would like to help the victims devastated by the effects of Super Typhoon Haiyan, you can donate to the Philippine Disaster Recovery Foundation website or to the National Federation of Filipino American Associations website here.
It is estimated that 1,200 people were killed when Super Typhoon Haiyan hammered the Philippines, according to a Philippines Red Cross official.
When the Super Typhoon made landfall, the storm had sustained winds of nearly 200 mph with gusts up to 235 mph, according to Philippines Weather Service officials.