Philippines family with 30 members missing: 'They're nowhere to be found'

Philippines family with 30 members missing: 'They're nowhere to be found'

Credit: Daisy Nemeth

Philippines family with 30 members missing: 'They're nowhere to be found'


by CNN

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 12:01 PM

Hong Kong (CNN) -- Their faces stare from old photos, their voices silent since Super Typhoon Haiyan swept through Tacloban in the Philippines on Friday.

At first Daisy Nemeth wasn't worried. Her family was close, they kept in touch. Soon, no doubt, she'd hear from her home in Hong Kong that all were safe.
But three days later, that call hasn't come.

Around 30 family members are missing.

"It's my uncle, my mom's brother is missing. All his children, his wife, everyone. My cousin is missing with her six children, they range in age from 9 to 19. Then I have many, many other missing cousins. But these are the ones we're the closest with -- and they're nowhere to be found," Nemeth said.

She'd be there in a heartbeat to look for them herself, she said, but at six months' pregnant and a mother to twin toddlers, there's no way she can go, even if she could find a way in.

Instead, her family, some of whom are based in Denmark, has been trying to hire someone to go to Tacloban to search for them, but no one seems to want to go.

"If no one can or is even willing to do it, I can't even begin to imagine the situation there," she said.
"In the Philippines you can buy anything and anyone. I hate to say it but that's the truth. So if we can't even pay someone to go in and look for them..." Nemeth said, her voice trailing off.

Nemeth's uncle, Rogelio Tan, is 68 years old and suffers from a severe learning disability. She's concerned for his safety if he's left to fend for himself.

She says her uncle doesn't always make the most sensible decisions, and fears what could happen "if he doesn't have his children with him to make good decisions for him."

Nemeth is checking Facebook pages where lists have been posted of survivors found in medical centers, and others are posting photos of lost family members in the hope that someone's seen them.

One of the largest is "Tacloban (and nearby Waray Towns) Yolanda Update" where more than 17,000 users are swapping messages in a mixture of English and the local language, Tagalog.
Among the pleas for help are stories of survival.

"THANK YOU LORD JESUS CHRIST... just got a call from our mother and they are all complete and safe... they survived by drinking only water in our deep wheel without foods in 4 days... they walked 6 hours to reach the Tacloban City Hall just to be able to contact us.. they are now going to the airport to take the C130 to Cebu with my relatives," writes William Sherwin Ay-Ay.

Nemeth is hoping for a similar tale of survival but so far has seen nothing that has offered anything beyond graver fears that her family has disappeared without a trace.

"I've seen all the pictures and I'm scouring the pictures but I can't even recognize the neighborhoods," she said. "According to some Facebook groups, the area my uncle was in, it isn't even there anymore."

And so the family's search goes on.

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