Filipina nurse’s relief as she contacts mum

The Bolton News: Maria Vimin Avila Maria Vimin Avila

A PHILIPPINES-BORN Bolton nurse has finally spoken to her mother after more than a fortnight fearing for her family’s welfare following the devastating Typhoon Haiyan.

Maria Vimin Avila, aged 43, a nurse at the Royal Bolton Hospital, watched on TV as her home city of Tacloban was ruined by the storm, with her family home destroyed.

She spent four sleepless nights not knowing whether her parents and siblings were alive or dead.

Her mother and niece have now gone to stay with a relative in Manila, capital of the Philippines.

Mrs Avila has also booked a trip to the countrythis month, her earliest chance as she has a young son to look after here, and is sending relief packages to the region.

She said: “Our house has been very badly damaged. My father and the rest of the family are still there trying to rebuild.

“I still do not really know whether some people I know are okay, and neither does my mother.”

Some stories from those Mrs Avila has contacted have not brought good news.

“I heard from some classmates from school and they told me a guy I knew has lost his wife,” she said.

“There will probably be more people I know that have died.

“I’m just thankful and feel lucky that my close family have survived and have the chance to rebuild their lives.

“It is also fantastic to see how much people have donated since this happened. It has been overwhelming really.”

With electricity and phone lines down, Maria still has no way of speaking to people in Tacloban and she says access to food is still a problem for her father.

“I am going over this month, and my sister has just gone out there now, which makes me a little more reassured,” Maria added.

“I will do all I can from here. I’m told the relief packages will take six to eight weeks to get there but at least it’s something.”

The typhoon killed more than 5,500 people, has displaced a further 3.5 million and affected 14 million in total.

To donate to the Disasters Emergency Committee app-eal, visit dec.org.uk, call the 24-hour hotline on 0370 60 60 900 or text the word SUPPORT to 70000 to give £5.

  • Bolton boxer Amir Khan hosted a glittering fundraising dinner for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan last night at the Hilton Hotel in Bradford.

More than 500 tickets were sold for the event, which included a three-course dinner and entertainment. There was also a charity auction of memorabilia from foot-balling greats, including Ronaldo and Messi, and boxing memorabilia from Amir himself.

Amir said: “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support from the community and hope to raise thousands for the Typhoon Haiyan Appeal.

“I’m honoured to be working with Islamic Relief, such a good cause.”

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