The typhoon that hit the Philippines Friday has shaken a tight-knit Filipino community in rural Manitoba.
The town of Neepawa has about 1,200 people from the Philippines who have immigrated there in recent years to work at HyLife Foods, a hog processing plant.
Winnie Duque arrived in Neepawa with her family in 2010. She said while her friends and family back home in the Philippines are safe, the community is afraid for others who haven't been so fortunate.
"Because of the loss of power and communication like internet and phone, there is still some families worried because they don't know what happened to their families back home," she said.
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Duque said everyone in the Filipino community in Neepawa has been glued to a Filipino news channel in the local grocery store.
"We're all sad for what's happening to our country, after the earthquake last month and then now the super typhoon," she said. "Its very, very sad. Heartbreaking."
Duque is collecting donations at the Tim Tom grocery store in town to send to the Philippines.
Kent Canasta is desperately worried, because he hasn't heard from his wife and children, who are 10 and 16 years old, since the typhoon hit.
He has been trying to wire them money from the Tim Tom grocery store in Neepawa.
But with communications down in the Philippines, it's not easy.
"It's very hard," he said. "I'm sending money for them. But I don't know where can I send (it)?"
Neepawa man loses many in extended family
It's a very difficult time for Marvin Pangilinan, too.
He moved to Neepawa last year and works a night shift at the hog plant.
He comes from a tiny community just seven kilometres from Tacloben, the epicentre of the storm.
He's already had bad news from back home. His extended family of 45, including aunts, uncles and cousins, were at first, all missing.
Then, information started to trickle in. The first news was not good.
"Our grandmother is already died, confirmed died," he said, adding that his grandmother raised him and he calls her 'mama'.
Then, on Facebook Tuesday, more bad news. Ten other family members are dead. Twenty-six are still missing.
"I don't know where to start, that all your family is already missing or gone," he said.
He tries to shut out the scenes of devastation on television and the internet.
"When I try to close my eyes, I try to recall that place, when I was there, that's really beautiful."
Winnipeg MCC, Peak of the Market, stepping in to help
The Winnipeg office of the Mennonite Central Committee's Disaster Response Unit is helping co-ordinate specialists heading to the Philippines.
Spokesperson Brad Reimer said representatives have been on the phone non-stop with their counterparts in the Philippines and in Thailand.
"(To) distribute locally purchased blankets and toiletries and that kind of thing," he said. "But they may not have the capacity to help people with trauma counselling or rebuilding their houses."
Reimer said so far MCC has sent $50,000 to Church World Service for the relief.
No one from the Winnipeg organization is expected to head to the Philippines.
Reimer said eight MCC disaster specialists stationed in the Philippines are already involved, and two psychologists from the U.S. who are experts in trauma situations are on the way.
"They will be connecting with ... churches and their work responding to the disaster, and there'll be things like disaster trauma healing expertise, you know, water expertise."
Reimer said MCC is looking for financial donations for the region.
Manitoba's Peak of the Market is also stepping up to help the Philippines.
President and CEO Larry McIntosh said 25 cents from each bag of potatoes, carrots, onions and parsnips will go towards relief efforts.
McIntosh said the company has raised money before for Haiti and for Calgary relief efforts, but the situation in the Philippines called for immediate action.
"This is one that really obviously struck our hearts when you hear about it, see the images of it, we knew we had to do something," he said. "We thought this was a way that we could get some money to the Red Cross to help out the families in the Philippines."
The goal is to raise $25,000 by the end of November.
Manitoba premier Greg Selinger said Tuesday that his NDP government is doubling the relief money it is sending to the Philippines, to $200,000.