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Milwaukee-area Red Cross worker grew up in the Philippines

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Jedd Lapid's job is to raise money for the American Red Cross in Milwaukee -- but taking donations is different this time, because Lapid was born and raised in the Philippines -- devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Officials in the Philippines are now saying there are more than 2,000 people confirmed dead following last week's massive typhoon that destroyed the city of Tacloban -- which has a population about the size of Madison.

When the typhoon hit, Lapid immediately thought of his father, who is in the Philippines on business.

"Upon the first warnings of the typhoon coming, he evacuated and flew to Manila as soon as he could. So he left there about three or four days before the typhoon made landfall," Lapid said.

Lapid's father is safe. Manila is more than 500 miles away from Tacloban, which was leveled by the storm.

Lapid has a number of friends in the Philippines -- having grown up there. He  moved to Milwaukee 23 years ago.

"I've actually spoken to a friend whose family is about 20 miles north of Tacloban and she got initial word that the roof of her house was blown off by the 140-200 mph winds," Lapid said.

As for what we can do, Lapid says donations are always welcome -- adding that the community has already been very generous.

However, perhaps more importantly, Lapid says the lesson here is to be prepared.

"Because you never know when something like this is gonna happen. And whether that's training in first aid, making sure you're donating blood, or making sure you can respond as a volunteer if you're not immediately affected during a crisis," Lapid said.

The American Red Cross is working with the Philippine Red Cross to help people in the states find their relatives in the Philippines.

The Red Cross office in southeastern Wisconsin says it has five active searches going.

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