Local doctor feeling pain from typhoon tragedy

By Elizabeth Campbell - Reporter
Headline Goes Here Paula Bronstein/Getty Images

The number of injured was at 23,404, with 1,582 still missing, the government-run Philippines News Agency reported on Nov. 22.

The death toll is said to possibly be over 10,000 in the Philippines where a massive typhoon hit on Friday.

Rescuers are still looking for survivors and hundreds of thousands have lost their homes.

Filipino natives here in Jacksonville are mourning thousands of miles away, as the Southeast Asian country copes with one of the biggest tragedies they've ever seen.

Lily Ursal is a doctor in Jacksonville, but is from the Philippines, and still has family there. She knew the typhoon was heading towards her home country so she called them in advance to make sure they were prepared. Waiting for their call after the typhoon -- she says she's never been so worried.

"We didn't hear from them for I think about 24 hours, and I was dead worried about what's going on, so finally my sister-in-law text and she said its okay, the family is okay the house is okay," Ursal said.

Ursal has two brothers that live in the Philippines, one brother who is sick and unable to walk.

"He was the one I was really worried about because he is facing the ocean, so there's storm surge and everything and he cant walk so I told the caregiver be sure to evacuate him if possible," Ursal said.

Amazingly, Ursal's brother and his home are okay, but that wasn't the case for her husband's family. They lost everything, along with an estimated 600,000 others. She says people are still suffering.

"They had to leave the house and then they get hit with debris and everything flying, so there are more dead bodies recovered, some are missing still because of the storm surge, we just pray," Ursal said.

Prayers and help from other countries is what Ursal believes will help provide comfort and support to help guide the victims through this tragedy.

"Right now, if they can donate anything, clothing, food, the U.S. is known for helping other countries, but any help is always appreciated, prayers especially, we pray a lot," said Ursal.

There are dozens of national organizations that you can make a donation to. Some are looking for supplies like food and clothes, others are taking monetary donations. Unicef and American Red Cross are just a couple of examples. Ursal says even the smallest donation will help this country in the biggest way.

Ursal says she goes to the Philippines every year. She was there last August through September. She said she didn't plan on going back until the end of next year but says she will probably go sooner now so she can visit her family and help them in whatever way possible.

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