BY ANGY ALTAMIRANO AND CRISTABELLE TUMOLA
Super Typhoon Haiyan, possibly the strongest ever recorded, smashed into the Philippines Friday, leaving death and widespread devastation in its path, according to reports.
The storm made landfall in the Samar province of the eastern Philippines with sustained winds of 195 mph and gusts as strong as 235 mph, according to published reports.
At least four people were killed in the typhoon, reported CBS News; two were electrocuted in storm-related accidents, one person was struck by lighting and another was killed by a fallen tree.
As news of the storm hit Queens, members of the Filipino community throughout the borough were left worried about their families and friends back home.
“It’s scary being so far away from my brothers and their families,” said Maria Lourdes Santiago, 57, from Far Rockaway. “I can’t get in contact with them still and memories from Sandy give me the worst thoughts. There’s nothing I can do all the way over here.”
Woodside resident Jose Santiago is also worried about loved ones back in the country where he grew up.
“Most of my family has come here to America but I still have people I know over there,” said Santiago, 63. “When I heard about it I just froze in my steps.”
Even as some residents have made contact with their loved ones and know they are safe, the whole Filipino community is feeling the destruction and loss.
“My grandma doesn’t live over by the coast so I don’t think she was really affected, but right now the country as a whole feels the pain,” said Amanda Mercado, 27, from Jackson Heights.