HOUSTON, TEXAS— Nearly 200,000 Filipinos work as nurses in hospitals and clinics across the United States. They, and many other Philippine Americans, are doing what they can to help people in the storm-ravaged region on the other side of the world. VOA's Greg Flakus has more from Houston.
The Filipiniana Restaurant in Houston is a popular gathering spot for Filipinos and the many Americans who like their food.
But when business slows, manager Carlos Chavez and his friends keep an eye on news reports from the Philippines.
"It is unimaginable and, the only thing is, sometimes you cry, and it is kind of hard to think of what happened," said Chavez.
The restaurant is hosting fundraising events to help people left homeless by the storm.
Fundraising for victims is also a priority for the Philippine Nurses Association of America, one of the largest Philippine organizations in the United States.
Members from the Houston area are also planning fundraising events.
Pam Windle is the organization's regional vice president.
"A lot of people are interested in joining us, and a lot of people are wanting to give money because we are trying to donate the money to back home, to send some money to help them out," said Windle.
One event is a walk in a park where each participant is funded by donors.
Even though the organizers are not from the stricken area, some, like Gina Shankar, have close friends there. It took her four days to contact her friends in Tacloban.
"They are doing fine, but they are really in need of food and the place is really a mess," said Shankar.
Of foreign-born nurses working in U.S. health facilities, nearly one third are from the Philippines.
Pam Windle said they cannot help but think of those in need back home.
"But it is so hard to go home because it is about [a]18 to 20 hours flight and plus you can't go to the province unless you have the military people who have to help you," said Windle.
She said, in the months ahead, medical services and personnel will still be in great need in the disaster zone and many Philippine nurses plan to return as volunteers.