EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

November 14, 2013

Locals collect funds to help Haiyan survivors

ANDOVER — Looking at the images of people living in the open, clamoring for food and water over fields of debris and toppled buildings, all Sierra Jamir could do is cry.

“It’s so shocking and there is so much devastation, it’s heartbreaking. You really can’t imagine it because you’re half (way) around the world,” said Jamir, whose parents are from the Philippines.

The multi-island nation was struck by Typhoon Yolanda or “Haiyan” on Friday, one of the deadliest in a decade. The cities of Tacloban, Cebu and Telye got hit the hardest, with wind gusts of 170 mph, waves as high as 45-feet and up to 15.75 inches of rain. The death toll has been estimated at 2,275 so far, with more than 11 million people affected by the storm.

With such devastation, many local people are doing what they can to raise money to help survivors displaced by the storm.

Marcy E. Yeager, a professor of natural sciences at Northern Essex Community College, explained that a typhoon is another word for hurricane. Both are types of cyclones, but these storms are called different things in different parts of the world.

Yeager, whose concentration is meteorology, said typhoons and earthquakes are common in the Philippines due to its proximity to the equator.

Last Saturday, Jamir was with a Filipino organization in Boston helping raise funds for the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked the country in October when they heard about Haiyan.

Jamir, a senior at Phillips Academy, and her fellow student, junior Alexandra Westfall, organized a fundraiser to help the typhoon victims through the school’s South East Asian Club, which Jamir started last year. Club members made fliers with the Filipino flag in the background and the message, “Save the Philippine Victims of Typhoon Haiyan.” Club members are selling pens and bracelets and have raised $600 in just a few days.

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