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Emotional extremes for families of typhoon victims

By Mariano Castillo, CNN
November 13, 2013 -- Updated 0129 GMT (0929 HKT)
iReporter Andrew Enderez works in the United Arab Emirates, but his family lives in the Philippines. He hasn't heard from them since Thursday, November 8.
iReporter Andrew Enderez works in the United Arab Emirates, but his family lives in the Philippines. He hasn't heard from them since Thursday, November 8.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hundreds of people are still missing in the Philippines
  • Family members abroad hope for the best and fear the worst
  • Loved ones experience despair, joy and emotions in between

(CNN) -- Andrew Enderez says he grows more anxious and hopeless as each day passes.

"I can't fathom that such a tragedy I see only in the movies could happen to me," he told CNN's iReport.

Enderez, an engineer who works in the United Arab Emirates, doesn't know what happened to his wife, his four children and their nanny, who live in the hard-hit central Philippines city of Tacloban, near the airport.

He posted a photo of his family online, hoping someone will recognize them.

Images of their faces smiling at him when he goes home to the Philippines during breaks are stuck on his mind, Enderez said.

"As I am writing this request," he said, "I can't help but break down and cry."

Enderez is one of many people thousands of miles from the Philippines who felt their hearts stop and their bearings spin as Typhoon Haiyan slammed into the island nation on Friday.

Dealing with the anguish of uncertainty as phone and Internet communications fail, Enderez and other CNN iReporters shared their feelings as they wait for news of missing loved ones.

Enderez has already lost a couple of other relatives in the storm, but remains hopeful that his immediate family has survived.

Typhoon Haiyan: Faces of the storm

Desperation

Aisa Aigbe last spoke with her mother before the storm.

Even then, she heard the fear in her mother's voice.

"She was crying and very scared, because our ceilings were giving up, and (flooding) is getting serious," Aigbe said.

Now Aigbe is terrified as she watches television news footage of the storm from her home in Maryland. On the streets of her beloved childhood hometown, she sees bodies in the streets where neighborhoods once stood.

She hasn't heard from her mother, brothers or nephew since the storm hit.

"I feel so miserable here and have been asking for help from everyone, but I still have not been able to locate my mom and the rest of my family," she said. "I'm desperate for answers."

Projected Typhoon Haiyan death toll falls

Fear

David Armstrong's wife survived the typhoon, but her safety is still not assured, he said.

Armstrong lives in the United Kingdom, while his wife, Ruby, whom he married in August, works as a teacher in Ormoc City, in Leyte province.

After a 24-hour communications blackout, he was able to reach his wife.

The good news of her survival was tempered by the state of the surrounding area.

Ruby Armstrong's family owns six houses on a piece of land in Ormoc City. The typhoon destroyed three of them and tore the roof off a fourth, forcing the extended family to live inside the two small remaining houses, her husband said.

"Not only have they lost homes, but they have no food, water, or electric," he said. They have become sick from drinking unclean water.

Some 90% of the buildings in Ormoc City were damaged, he said.

There is only one supermarket and one pharmacy operating, and both are running out of supplies, Ruby told David. The family also has no way to retrieve money, because banks and ATMs have suffered damage.

"They have had no relief aid whatsoever," David Armstrong said.

Gratitude

The damage in another Leyte province city, Baybay, was also severe.

But Indiana residents Ron Johnston and his wife, Charity, whose parents live in Baybay, were overjoyed after receiving good news from the devastated region. Charity's parents survived the storm.

She last talked to her father on Thursday as Typhoon Haiyan was bearing down on the Philippines.

A cousin located Charity's parents, who were alive, but who suffered losses.

"Their house is completely gone (and) all their animals are dead," Johnston said. "My father-in-law's rice fields are wiped out. They lost everything but the clothes on their backs."

"But they didn't lose the precious thing," Johnston said. "Life."

CNN's Daphne Sashin, Cydney Fisher and Catherine E. Shoichet contributed to this report.

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