A Filipina living in Halifax is breathing a sigh a relief after hearing her family is alive as the death toll continues to climb in the typhoon-ravaged Philippine islands.
Nimfa Persona, who moved to Halifax eight years ago, used to live in a town two hours outside Tacloban city — the area hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan.
“It feels like I’m a zombie, you know? I'm just getting through the day. Sometimes I want to go out just to change the scenario and I don't have to think about what's happening there," she told CBC News.
"It's so distressing. I keep on looking at all the pictures here and all you see are dead bodies. I might not know these people but they came from the same place where I grew up. So it's hard. Really, really hard."
An enormous job lies ahead for relief workers in the Philippines, as the death toll after Typhoon Haiyan is expected to climb as high as 10,000. The Philippine military confirmed 942 dead, but shattered communications, transportation links and local governments suggest the final toll is days away.
Persona said hundreds of Filipinos in the Maritimes are anxiously waiting for news from family and friends.
She is still waiting to speak to her family on the phone but received a Facebook message from her niece late Sunday night they are all alive and doing well.
"The past few days, I could not think," said Persona.
"I'm glad I was not there but it's also hard for me to think that they have to go through this nightmare."
Persona is the secretary of the Filipino Association of Nova Scotia. She said the association is determined to begin fundraising efforts and is meeting this week to decide what to do.
She said they are hoping to channel donations from the Canadian Red Cross to the Philippine Red Cross.
Meanwhile, the representative of the Philippine embassy in Nova Scotia said at least one fundraising evening is already in the works, set for Dec. 6. It will involve a community bingo game, dinner, dancing and a concert.
The Canadian government has said Ottawa will also match each dollar donated by Canadians to registered Canadian charities for the Philippines Crisis Matching Fund.
Donations will be accepted until Dec 8.