'Big sigh of relief' for loved ones caught in typhoon

POSTED: 6:35 PM Nov 12 2013
REDDING, Calif. -

"You don't know if they're gone. If they're dead,” Jose Yusta recalls the days of agonizing thoughts playing out in both his and his wife’s minds.

His wife Gay grew up in Tacloban, the area in the Philippines hit hardest by the massive Typhoon Haiyan.

“Of course we don't want to keep reminding us of that but you just keep hoping for the best, and to hear from them is a big sigh of relief," says Yusta with a big grin.

Gay’s mother, sisters, brothers and their children all still live in the town wiped out by the super storm.

"We heard it through her sister, the one that's been crying and couldn't sleep out there. She's so relentless in calling and I guess she got a hold of her brother and told her that everybody was OK,” explains Yusta.

But despite the wonderful news that everyone in Gay’s family made it through the powerful storm, another danger has surfaced.

"Of course the bigger the disaster is, the more is available out there for the looters," says Yusta.

Entire neighborhoods have been ripped apart, personal belongings strewn across the streets of Tacloban.

Restoring power and order are just a few of the major roadblocks in the Philippines.

"Thank God the military is there now, restoring order,” says Yusta, who also grew up in the Philippines, and knows how people living there deal with major storms.

"This storm was so strong, that you know in the past, when the storm gets done you pick up the pieces and patch your house back. But this storm is nothing like that. I think everything is just scattered, I don't think you're going to just pick up the pieces on this one,” says Yusta.

He and his wife have started collecting donations at their restaurant, Jose’s Family Diner in Redding.

"We're trying to get donations. And I tell you, it just gladdens my heart because several people have come here already and gave donations"

To support those who lost everything because of the typhoon, you can donate at the diner located at 20210 Charlanne Dr. or to the Red Cross.