A Pasco woman who grew up in the Philippines spent the weekend hoping and praying her brother, his wife and two kids survived the typhoon that ripped through the western Pacific island nation.
Myla Din learned Monday that they had, and it was an amazing feeling after a harrowing few days, she said.
"Imagine waiting a couple of days. You're so worried. I was just praying that God would help them, that they'll be OK," Din, 38, told the Herald. "Thank God they'll be OK. They're alive; that's all that matters."
Din's brother, his wife and two kids live in Tacloban, the capital of Leyte province and an area devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.
The typhoon cut a trail of destruction, leveling homes and businesses and leaving thousands dead or missing. It also reverberated in the Tri-Cities as people like Din waited for word on their loved ones.
Regina Conley, 35, of Benton City, is a native of the Philippines, with relatives still living there. Her brother, his wife and their four children live in a city near Tacloban.
She'd been told that people in their city fared OK but still was waiting for definitive news about them Monday evening. And the waiting was tough.
"Every time the news is saying, 10,000 are dead, you are wondering if they're one of those," Conley said. "You want to watch the news all the time to see if their faces are in there. I'm just hoping and praying they are safe."
Although Din learned through other relatives that her brother and his family survived, she still hadn't been able to talk with them directly as of Monday evening, with phones and electricity down.
She said she'd been told their home was spared but that the homes of relatives of her sister-in-law washed away.
While she was relieved her loved ones survived, Din said she also feels great sadness for others in the Philippines who weren't as lucky.
"I'm just so sad about those people who lost their loved ones and also (those) that lost their homes," she said.
HOW TO HELP
Here are some groups gathering help for typhoon victims in the Philippines:
American Red Cross: www.redcross.org, 1-800-RED CROSS.
World Vision: www.worldvision.org, 1-888-511-6443.
Mercy Corps: www.mercycorps.org, 1-888-747-7440
ANCOP Foundation: www.donatedisasterrelief-ausa.org.
-- Sara Schilling: 582-1529; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @saraTCHerald