Local family packing for Philippines relief efforts

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Video by tmj4.com

Local family packing for Philippines relief efforts

By Yona Gavino. CREATED Nov 16, 2013

GREENFIELD -- A family in Greenfield is packing supplies for their loved ones who survived the typhoon while not knowing if other family members are alive.

TODAY’S TMJ4 spoke to one Filipino couple who are flying out of Mitchell international Airport on Monday. They are headed to the Philippines and hope to find their loved ones who are still missing.

Benedicto and Maria Refuerzo are packing four suitcases full of food for their family.

"Food is very difficult in our place because the distribution of the relief is not properly done because of lack of personnel," explains Benedicto Refuerzo.

They're also bringing candles and lighters, because in many places in the Philippines, there still isn't electricity.
Benedicto tells TODAY’S TMJ4 his house in Tacloban was totally wiped out. His nieces and nephews are still missing. Benedicto hopes he can help find them.

"I will use my resources,” says Benedicto. “I am a retired police colonel in our place. And I have my connections and my resources."
The monster typhoon that hit the Philippines has killed at over 3,600 people. Aid is trickling in, but the situation remains grim for the survivors.

"They need our help,” explains Benedicto’s wife Maria. “I have two kids in the Philippines, and I have 11 grandchildren to take care of."

Maria is a nurse. There's a lot she plans to do once she arrives in the Philippines.

“I plan on taking care of them, helping the people around who are sick, especially, and communicating with medical staff," says Maria Refuerzo.

The good news is that Maria and Benedicto learned that their son and grandchildren in the Philippines are okay.  She got a text that they were safe.  Once again, the couple will fly out on Monday.  

Once they get to the Philippines, they intend to travel to Tacloban, the city ravaged by the typhoon.
Yona Gavino

Yona Gavino

Yona joined TODAY'S TMJ4 as a general assignment reporter in April 2013. Before moving to MIlwaukee, Yona spent two and a half years as a reporter at the NBC affiliate in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.