Red Cross encourages continued efforts to contact friends, families in devastated Philippines

American Red Cross is advising Northern Californians trying to get in touch with friends or relatives in the path of Typhoon Haiyan – which swept across the central Philippines on Friday, killing more than 1,200 by some estimates – to continue those efforts, although many phone lines are down throughout the devastated area.

The storm had sustained winds surpassing 145 mph, making it a category 4 typhoon.

Red Cross officials are already reporting from and working in the region, relaying details of extensive damage to homes, roads and communications facilities.

Red Cross said it has activated its family-tracing services. For more information on Red Cross efforts, see www.redcross.org or call (800)733-2767.

Mina Guerra of Elk Grove, a native of the Philippines and second vice president of the Filipino Community of Sacramento and Vicinity, also advised people concerned about friends and family to reach out via email and social media.

“I know that doesn’t always work because of the power (outages), but it is one of the things we do,” Guerra said. “We are all very concerned about what has happened. It’s very diverse. There are different areas and different nationalities. We’re very supportive of any help.”

Guerra said officers of the local Filipino group are scheduled to meet Wednesday, when local plans for relief efforts will be discussed.

Red Cross said those wishing to donate to relief efforts can mail a check to local Red Cross chapters, designating “Philippines Typhoons and Flood” in the memo line.

The Capital Region Chapter of Red Cross is at 1565 Exposition Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815. Office hours there are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is (916)993-7070.

The Salvation Army has set up a Philippines relief fund link at www.salvationarmyusa.org.