Typhoon Haiyan: Red Cross volunteers connect area residents with loved ones

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Super Typhoon Haiyan slammed into Tacloban in the Philippines with a ferocity never seen before.

"I have not spoken to anyone who hasn't lost someone close to them," said Tacloban Mayor Alfred Romualdez.

While nearly 200 mile per hour gusts were recorded, it is believed that a 16-foot storm surge is to blame for thousands feared dead and many more feared missing in this island nation.

Magina Fernandez lost everything.

"Get international help to come here now!" she urged. "Not tomorrow, now! This is really bad, worse than hell."

On Sunday, Red Cross volunteers in the nation’s capital asked simple but critical questions at a call center, trying to connect people in our region with loved ones unreachable in the Philippines.

Throughout this archipelago, communications are down with hospitals, airports, and seaports all either closed or destroyed.

Al Santoli is the head of the Asian America Initiative (AAI), and has been to the Philippines dozens of times to provide humanitarian relief. His job is to get the basics – like food, clean water, and medicine – to hard-hit rural areas.

"So we'll load up a truck like this and you'll see it goes out to the pharmacies and supermarkets," he explains. "We're trying our best but it's overwhelming. There's no two ways about that."

For the millions impacted by this storm, help cannot come quickly enough.