Typhoon Haiyan: St. Columba's Catholic Church collecting cash donations

(WJLA) - Maryland resident Vina Colasito feels helpless, and she’s worried as she sits watching television and witnesses the growing misery in her native Philippines.

"What happened to my family?" she cries.

Her son, daughter, and grandchildren live in Tacloban -- among the hardest hit by Sunday’s super typhoon. Her granddaughter phoned her late Sunday, saying they were all okay, but there was still bad news – the house is gone, along with everything in it.

Then, the phone went dead.

Food, water, and medical aid are only trickling in to the Philippines, and rescue efforts are hampered by roads clogged with debris and bodies. There is no electricity.

St. Columba’s in Oxon Hill is the largest Filipino-American Catholic Church in the D.C. area, and Father Gary Villanueva said his parents’ home on the island of Panay was spared -- but still: “It was scary because they could see the flying debris,” he says.

Now the parish is collecting cash donations and relying on generosity and faith to get through. They are praying for their brothers and sisters who are really struggling.