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Utahns worry for family, friends after typhoon displaces thousands

By Haley Smith | Posted - Nov 8th, 2013 @ 7:52pm


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SALT LAKE CITY — Friday is a day of worry for many Utah families with friends and family in the Philippines. KSL spoke with two Utah mothers — one said most of her family is still on the islands and the other said her son is less than two weeks from returning home from his mission there. Both have no idea how they're doing.

The Philippines is no stranger to typhoons, but local forecasters are calling this the storm of the century with wind gusts over 200 miles per hour. Filipino Emma Argyle moved to the states 20 years ago, but said the majority of her family still lives in a town that the storm tore through.

"Just this morning saying that some people have died and the water is rising," Argyle said. "You just feel sick to your stomach knowing there is nothing you can do but pray."

Argyle heard that her family was supposed to move to a safer building, but she fears the worst because she says her mother is self-reliant and is "the type of person that doesn't want to bother anybody."


Just this morning saying that some people have died and the water is rising. You just feel sick to your stomach knowing there is nothing you can do but pray.

–Emma Argyle


"I hope they did," she said. "I was hoping that they'd go to an elementary school, but I'm thinking that they did not."

Lashings from Mother Nature are a common occurrence in the Philippines.

"We are used to disasters like this, it happens every single year," Argyle said. "In fact, my father used to say, 'Don't worry about it, this means we get to have a new house.'"

But Argyle doesn't think anyone could be prepared enough for this storm.

"My city... downtown is completely wiped out, it's completely gone," she said.

Parents of missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints serving in the Philippines are worried as well. Monica Baker said her son Joseph is serving an LDS mission in Ormauk and is scheduled to return home in 13 days.

"When there was an earthquake tsunami, he got to me within 12 hours and let me know. This time there is no contact," Baker said.


When there was an earthquake tsunami, he got to me within 12 hours and let me know. This time there is no contact.

–Monica Baker, mother of missionary


While Baker is sitting by the phone waiting to hear about her missionary, the anticipation builds up as she listens to more news reports about the devastation.

"That entire island was engulfed by this storm, there was not one part of that island that didn't feel effects of this storm," she said. "I know that the Church will take very good care of them, but I have a mothers heart and I just need to hear that he's okay."

These two women say the hardest thing is just not knowing what's going on. Power is out which means no phone, email or internet contact.

The Church released a statement that said they've moved the missionaries to a safer location, and have supplies ready to help those in need.

Video Contributing: Keith McCord

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