Philippines destruction hits home for UI student - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Philippines destruction hits home for UI student

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It's one of the most powerful typhoons ever recorded, and may have killed an estimated 10,000 people in the Philippines.

Harvey Li is a University of Iowa student and from the Philippines. His family is safe and are all accounted for, but littering the streets are thousands of bodies -- devastation Li says no one can ever prepare for.

"We were just not prepared for something this strong," said Li. "I feel worse for those who don't have a stable house, because this typhoon pretty much destroyed buildings."

Li has been living in the United States for three years now and said he has grown up in typhoon-like weather -- but nothing like Typhoon Haiyan.

"The typhoon just cut everything. There's no power, there's no water," said Li. "People were in riot. They don't have a home. They try to just fend for themselves. There was no law and order."

There are three major islands in the Philippines. Li says he's exceptionally grateful that his family lives on the northern island, barely escaping one of the largest and deadliest storms to hit the Pacific basin.

"That's really the beginning of the story, because it has left the Philippines and now has its sights on Vietnam, so the devastation can continue all throughout the Pacific basin," said Red Cross national spokesperson Peter Teahen.

The Red Cross is asking Cedar Rapids residents and all Iowans for money to help those affected.

Teahen said Cedar Rapids knows firsthand the havoc natural disasters can cause.

"Cedar Rapids knows from experience," said Teahen. "The floods of 2008 we did not have that loss of life, we did not have massive amounts of people left homeless."
Harvey says the worst he's seen has been cars floating in 11 feet of water, but he say's that's nothing compared to Typhoon Haiyan's wrath, leaving bodies hanging from trees.

"To anyone who prays, just pray for us and anyone who is going to get hit by the typhoon," said Li.  "I heard it moving toward Vietnam and other regions of Southeast Asia, so I hope they're ready for it."

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