A day after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged large parts of the central Philippines, many are still considered missing, among them one Israeli citizen. Hagar Klein, 23, a diving instructor currently staying at the small island of Malapascua, has not been in touch with her family since Thursday.
The family has sought assistance from the Foreign Ministry but has yet to trace Hagar. "We make a point to talk to her once a day or every two days," her sister Noam told Ynet. "She traveled to the Philippines a month and a half ago to dive. The last time we spoke she said she might not be able to call because flooding was causing problems with the phone lines."
- 'Massive destruction' as typhoon flattens Philippine city
- Massive cyclone hits India; at least 5 dead
- Report: Israeli woman's body found in Germany
The majority of Israelis who reside in the Philippines are concentrated in the capital Manila which was largely unaffected by the typhoon. "Most of the Israelis reside in the city center in well-built sky-scrapers, and so we usually we look down on the storms that flood the poorer areas of town," explained Rehovot-born Shai Yalin.
Yalin has been living in Manila for the past four years and estimates an average 20 storms of various sizes hit the country every year. "From my experience, the Filipinos can handle this. They resume normal activity incredibly quickly after the toughest of storms."
At least 138 people were confirmed dead in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan. But Philippine Red Cross Secretary General Gwen Pang said that agency field staff in the region estimated the toll was about 1,000. Pang, however, emphasized that it was "just an estimate."
The typhoon slammed into six central Philippine islands on Friday, wiping away buildings and leveling seaside homes. At least 118 of the confirmed deaths were on hardest-hit Leyte Island, where Tacloban is located, said national disaster agency spokesman Maj. Reynaldo Balido.
Analya, who lives in Israel with her Israeli partner and is currently visiting family in Manila, described the scene in Manila: "The situation here is relatively good. It's no longer raining but the power is still out. There are strong winds and we feel the weather is improving."
AP and Roi Kais contributed to the report
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop