Slidell teacher desperate to hear from family in the Philippines - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Slidell teacher desperate to hear from family in the Philippines

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SLIDELL, La. - One Slidell family still waits to hear from their loved ones in the Philippines after Typhoon Haiyan, as charitable organizations in the area warn people to be wary of who you're donating to.

It's been a rough few days for Brandi Mire and her family. "All of us are praying right now and asking everyone else to pray because that's all that we can do," said Mire.

The Slidell school teacher's grandmother, uncles and cousins live in a rural town in the Philippines just an hour outside Tacloban, the area hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan.

Mire explains, "A lot of the houses are built by scratch from wood, from sticks, from leaves so that makes me a little nervous that they're all handmade."

In the village where her family lives, there's no running water or electricity, but Mire says that didn't tarnish her visit a few years ago because the hospitality she experienced was unparalleled. "They absolutely love Americans, super friendly everyone very giving, very loving," Mire explained.

But now, the fate of all of her relatives is unknown. Mire and her family haven't had any communication with them since the storm hit. It's taking a toll on Mire's stepmother, who was born and raised there. "She said I don't know whether to cry or what to just feel because she doesn't know what's going on over there and she's so concerned," Mire said.

A lot of Americans are wondering how they can help. Organizations like the Red Cross and United Way are fielding phone calls from people who want to donate money. But the president of the local chapter of the United Way warns that after a major disaster like this, everyone should be wary of scams. "Make sure you work with a reputable organization, somebody you trust, somebody who has volunteer oversight and accountability," said Michael Williamson.

Brandi Mire knows what she wants to do to help explaining, "It makes me want to get on a plane and just fly over there and be with the people."

But at this point, she knows that's just not a possibility. So she and her family will continue to pray as they wait for word from her family.

Michael Williamson with the United Way says it's important to research a charity before handing over any money for typhoon victims. That can be easily done online he says and of course, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

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