Friday, we sat down with Marinez & Bob Burnett to learn their story and what they're doing to help.
Pictures of the beautiful islands and people sit in front of Marinez Burnett, as she remembers her first home before immigrating to the U.S.
Now, the Philippines is devastated and torn by a category 5 super typhoon that's left Filipinos without homes, food and even loved ones. "Honestly, I didn't think much of it because we're use to it, but then the following day I saw the news. I-- I literally what I saw I cried because it's just so heartbreaking. I didn't understand the magnitude of it and that it was that huge," said the native Filipino who now resides in Dakota Dunes, SD. Just like Midwesterners expect tornado season, Filipinos are used to typhoons every year.
But this couple says people weren't ready for a natural disaster this damaging, like a family of 38 whose homes, except for one, were all destroyed.
Now, together they must all live under that one roof until help comes. "They're out of fresh water, they're out of food they have no electricity, they have no communication methods so... they have no medicine so I think the stories are gonna get worse and worse and worse and these 38 people they have nothing, they have no way to get off the island," said her husband Bob Burnett, owner of the local Dakota PC Warehouse. According to family and friends, ground relief has been delayed because damage is widespread throughout the country made up of more than 7,000 islands. "There are pockets of local neighborhoods we call 'magkakapitbahay' (neighborhood) which have not been reached so they have not gotten food nor water for days and were talking about not one day but three, four five days," she explained. While the Philippines has received international support, the couple says more could be done.
But instead of waiting on diplomats, they've decided to take action and raise awareness and aid themselves. "My heart belongs to the Philippines and I've been in the middle of a storm and it has, um, affected me and of course I was born and raised there and I just- I just cannot just sit down here and do nothing so it is for me more than helping. It is the right thing to do," said Burnett. The Burnett's have set up a fund through their business at Dakota PC.
They are accepting all and any donations that can help the victims of the typhoon and will donate them to a local organization and media outlet in the Philippines.
For more information on how you can help their efforts and other organizations collecting relief funds visit http://dakotapcwarehouse.com/.