The devastation visited on the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan was watched in horror by retired tree surgeon Barry Baker from Newcastle because his girlfriend and her family live on the island worst hit by the storm.
After five anxious days, Mr Baker from the Old Post House, Newcastle heard the good news from his girlfriend Rowena Santos Catuy that she survived the typhoon, the most powerful to hit land ever recorded.
He received a text message from Rowena on Tuesday, November 12 that she was alive. “I expected the worst and I am so relieved she is alive,” he said. “She told me she saw bodies lying on the roads.”
Rowena and her children, Sateen (9) and Hamish (12), and their wider family live in a village about 30 miles from Tacloban city on Leyte island.
Her brother Uab is a a former work colleague of Barry’s from his days as professional diver with an oil company in Saudi Arabia. Barry met Rowena while helping Uab to run his diving school in the Philippines.
Barry says he wants to organise a fund-raiser for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Dulag Leyte region where Rowena lives and has issued an appeal to anyone with an idea or interested in helping out to contact him at (087) 2335239.