Arizona woman helps with Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Arizona woman helps with Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The State Department says at least five Americans died and nearly 500 people have been located alive.

The storm 11 days ago left more than 5,000 people missing or dead -- four million people are displaced.

"The Philippine children need everything, they need water, they need nutrition, they need shelter, they need medicines, they need protection. There are at the moment over five million children impacted by this typhoon. There are almost 790,000 displaced kids with no place to go," said Caryl Stern, President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.

The U.S. is providing nearly $40 million in humanitarian aid right now. A non-profit group based in Arizona is among organizations on the ground in the Philippines, assisting in disaster relief efforts.

Heidi Hatch with Food for the Hungry has been in the Philippines since Nov. 12th.  She's been in one village, but is preparing to head to western Samar -- one of the hardest hit areas.

She's no stranger to deprived areas around the world, but Hatch says this has been one of the worst.

"So I've been exposed to traumatic situations and life circumstances.. I've not been exposed to anything of this magnitude," she said.

Hatch describes a country in need of help with thousands displaced and countless others in need of basics.

"They have a huge need for shelter, water, food, trauma care," she said.

So far, Food for the Hungry has distributed thousands of pounds of food, including 12,000 pounds of rice.  As they continue their assessment into some of the hardest hit areas, Hatch is preparing herself for what she may encounter.

"Just based on what I've seen on the news, I'm expecting to see families that are desperate, that are looking for lost family members that are hungry.. that don't have access to clean water."

Hatch says she is garnering strength from an unlikely place -- the people of the Philippines.

"They have a beautiful spirit that helps them cope with what they're faced with everyday, so I will draw from their strength as well," she said.

Hatch will be in the Philippines until Nov. 26th.  There is still a huge need for basic items.  If you'd like to donate, go to Food for the Hungry's web site: http://fh.org/storm

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