As damage is surveyed in the Philippines, residents in the Capital Region can only hope that their friends and family in the country are safe. YNN's Madeleine Rivera spoke to a local woman who has spent hours trying to reach her family. She has more on this story.
CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. -- "I think we found out Thursday that it was very serious already," said Schenectady resident, Vida McCarthy-Cerrito.
She was caught off guard by the magnitude of the typhoon.
"I kind of hoped that it wouldn't be as bad as I anticipated, and it wasn't going to be a five," she said.
In fact, that's exactly what it was. Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the Philippines early Friday morning, one of the strongest storms ever recorded.
"We have a very strong faith, and we're hoping everybody's okay," she said.
Several members of Cerrito's family live in the Samar province, an area devastated by the typhoon. By early Saturday night, she says she still hasn't heard from them, despite multiple attempts to reach them via Facebook.
"We're unsure of the status," she said.
Unsurprising, given that the storm has knocked out power and communication lines, leaving Cerrito and the rest of her family in the Capital Region scrambling for any kind of update.
"Contact via Facebook again, see if the other members in Manila have heard anything, and if some of them indeed fled for safety," she said.
But, Cerrito takes comfort in the fact that some of her family members in Manila, north of where the storm hit, are safe.
"Most of the family that I have been in communication have been preparing," she said.
Cerrito's family is no stranger to natural disaster, weathering through another typhoon that hit the Philippines back in 2009. She says the family's ability to move forward is a symbol of the country's resiliency.
"The one thing about my family and the Filipinos that I've known in my life is they're hard workers, and they're full of faith, and they're survivors," she said.
For more information on how you can help see the links below.
The Red Cross: redcross.org/donate
U.N. World Food Program: http://www.wfp.org/