NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A sizeable Filipino community in Deep East Texas continues to keep close watch on the typhoon recovery effort. More than 4,440 people are in evacuation centers, and more half that number were killed.
East Texas News met one Philippine native from Nacogdoches who has close ties to his homeland.
Alex Casis helps people with heart problems. Recently, it's been his own heart racing.
"For two days, I never sleep well because worried about them," said Casis, a native of Philippines
Uncertainty of his siblings' safety in the Philippines can naturally create worry.
"I been calling them, and I don't have an answer and then after three days I was able to contact my younger sister," Casis said. "She said all the crops, the trees are down, including houses, including their houses."
Each phone call is emotional.
"Every time I talk to them, they cry. I cry," Casis said.
Casis spends hours on the computer watching news coverage of his devastated homeland.
"The island where I live is Panay Island, so the typhoon from the Pacific Ocean hit the eastern beside us which is Leyte and Tacloban City that is wiped out by now," Casis said.
The miles separate him from a sister, who is a teacher. Her school is now an evacuation center. Another sister owns a store.
"Her store got looted because people are hungry and then she does not have any choice to stop those looters," Casis said. "Just to let it go because she knew they were also hungry."
Hungry, but alive.
The news wasn't so good for Alex's uncle. The elderly man traveled to the Philippines to check on his in-laws.
"When he got there he found out his mother-in-law passed away," Casis said.
Alex still owns property in Panay. It's all right, but he knows recovery around him will be slow. The nuclear technician plans to travel to the Philippines next month. His employer, cardiologist Dr. Pokala, and co-workers are gathering medical supplies for Alex to distribute in his homeland.
"Thank you for your prayer and thoughts," Casi said.
Anyone wishing to donate to the typhoon recovery effort can do so through the American Red Cross. Direct donations to Alex Casis can be made at Dr. Pokala's office in Nacogdoches.
Other fundraisers are being organized by Filipinos living in the East Texas region.