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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEWORLEANS-- Survivors in the Philippines are pleading for food, water and medicine, and the relief effort has barely begun.

Some families across the metro area still haven't heard from relatives since Typhoon Yolanda made landfall on Friday. In response, local organizations are working to assist storm victims.

'I have a lot friends here and in other states that can not get in touch with their families and they don't know how to get in touch with them,' said Luzon 'Luz' Visayas Mindanao Bumatay-Goudeau.

From their Gretna living room, the Goudeau's have been watching the devastation unfold in the Philippines.

Luz is originally from the Southeast Asian country. Luckily, her family dodged Typhoon Yolanda's wrath.

'People from around the world helped us after Katrina. You gotta give to get. They really need it,' said Wayne Goudeau.

Now this family is trying to help from thousands of miles away. The Goudeaus are members of the New Orleans Filipino American Lions Club, which is answering these victims' calls for help.

'We're trying to ask people for donations, clothing, canned goods, money, things like that,' said Luz.

The American Red Cross is also on the ground in the Philippines, sending in disaster relief and telecommunication specialists along with a satellite system to help reach isolated and hard hit areas.

'Disaster is a time when we need our families the most, and the pain, the separation, can be even more heartbreaking when you don't know if they're alive or suffering,' said Melissa Eugene with the American Red Cross Southeast Louisiana Chapter.

Volunteers with the local chapter are helping man the organization's family tracing services hotline. Their goal is to help reconnect families in the United States with relatives in the Philippines who they still can't reach.

'So that volunteers in the Philippines can go out and look for an individuals last known address and try and seek out information that can help get them back together with their families,' said Eugene.

On Saturday, Luz & Wayne are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. Guests are being told, no gifts, just to help those in desperate need.

'I just want them to help the Philippines,' said Luz.

Starting Tuesday, anyone wanting to help can make a donation to the New Orleans Filipino American Lions Club Disaster Relief Fund at any Capital One Bank.

Also, if you live in the metro area and are trying to reconnect with a relative in the Philippines, you can leave a message for a Red Cross reconnection specialist (504) 620-3110.

For more information on disaster relief efforts, click here.

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