Local Filipinos hold prayer service for victims of the typhoon

SAFETY HARBOR, Fla. - Thousands of miles away in a home in Safety Harbor, dozens of local Filipinos gathered together to pray.
"We pray for them. We pray for the Philippines," Father Sonny Ramirez said.

"It's heartbreaking. It's hard to do. But sometimes that's all we have, you know," said Adna Duran.

Duran's story was like many of those gathered inside that home Monday night. She grew up in the Philippines, not too far from Tacloban - the area hardest hit by Typhoon Haiyan.

Duran hasn't been able to get in touch with her family since Friday.

'We're just waiting and waiting, going to Facebook, but there's no answer," she said.

Many of the images from the ground look unrecognizable. Once thriving cities have been torn to pieces. Hundreds of thousands of Filipinos have been displaced.

The official death toll stands at 1744, but authorities in the Philippines estimate the number is actually higher than 10,000.

"Why," asked Emma Barrido. "Why our country?"

"It's very scary and very upsetting and very sad," said Rocky Barrido, chairman of the Phillipine Cultural Foundation.

Not knowing what else to do, the Barridos invited people over to their house to pray.  Each person seemed to be holding out hope, this will be the night that familiar voice will finally call.

"All I can do is pray and try to do something to help them," Barrido said.

On November 23, the Philippine Cultural Foundation is planning to hold a local fundraiser for victims of Typhoon Haiyan.

It will be at the Bayanihan Arts and Events Center located at 14301 Nine Eagles Drive in Tampa.

To find other ways to donate or help in other ways, visit  http://wfts.tv/19UXiRX.

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