Haiyan typhoon hits close to home as well as overseas

East Tennesseans with ties to the Philippines watched from afar as that storm made its way across that country.

Conchita Mimbaugh is a co-owner of the Philippine Connection restaurant in Knoxville. She moved here in 1970 from the Philippines.

Mimbaugh opened her restaurant in 1980 looking to share a taste of her home. Now she sits and waits to hear that her family is safe.

"I don't know if it hit right now because I am here at work. Don't have time to look at it. Don't have the news yet," said Mimbaugh.

She has family living in the same country that the dangerous typhoon tore through.

"My mom is in the Philippines. I will probably have to go get her. She is on vacation right now," said Mimbaugh.

Matthew Solis is the president of the Philippine-American Association of East Tennessee, a group dedicated to preserving the filipino culture. They're creating a way to help families displaced from typhoon Haiyan.

"We're going to ask for donations from our friends and our members of PAAET to contribute and support the victims of the typhoon," said Solis.

Solis also has family over seas.

"I talked to them the night before the storm hit the area and my father told me that it is so quiet but the sky is getting darker," said Solis.

The calm before a storm that brought historically strong winds. It knocked out phone signals to Solis's father, and now he depends on a Facebook page for communication.

"They show us some videos of the typhoon and it's very devastating because they show us the before and the after. And the after shows missing roofs and houses are toppled down. Trees are toppled down," said Soles.

Solis and Mimbaugh both plan on making trips to the Philippines in the near future. The entire time, they keep one thing in mind.

"Material things can be replaced, but lives can't. And be praying for those people who lost family and just be thankful that we are blessed," said Mimbaugh.

Solis said the East Tennessee filipino group has donated for previous natural disasters. These donations helped 53 families get back on their feet after a devastating storm. He hopes to do the same for the victims of typhoon Haiyan.


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