Members of the Filipino community in New Brunswick are struggling to get in touch with family members back home.

A humanitarian nightmare is unfolding in their country in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan as the death toll has climbed to 1,774.

Mariflor Macawile hadn't heard from her sister, brother-in-law, niece and nephew for five days. The live in Tacloban, the city most ravaged by the typhoon on Leyte Island.

Mariflor Macawile

Mariflor Macawile hasn't been able to contact family members in the Philippines since it was hit by Typhoon Haiyan (CBC)

"I have my sister in Tacloban with her family," she said. "Until now, we don't know where they are, we don't know how they are, if they can eat, or … you know."

Macawile says despite phone lines being down, she keeps calling, hoping someone will pick up.

Evelyn Eder has two daughters, 20 and 17 years old, studying in Tacloban. She remembers the last words her oldest daughter said to her over the phone.

"She said, `Mom, I'm so scared,'" said Eder. "I could hear the wind. I didn't even expect that they would survive."

Two days after that call, Eder received word from a friend that her daughters are alive. But she still hasn't heard from them.

Evelyn Eder

Evelyn Eder is happy to know her daughter are alive in the Philippines, but worries about the conditions they are living under. (CBC)

"I'm just hoping that I can hear from them," said Eder. "And hopefully in a few weeks, any time, I can go there and hug them."

One of the only ways the women say they can help their families in the Philippines is to send money, but given the devastation in the Tacloban area, that's not possible.

While her daughters are alive, Eder worries about the conditions they are living under. More than 1,700 people are dead and shelter, water and food are non-existent in some parts of the Philippines.