South Florida Woman Learns That Family Members in Philippines Are Alive

Renalyn Noworyta's mother and family survived Typhoon Haiyan, but are sleeping on the streets

Paul and Renalyn Noworyta got the news they were waiting for Friday night, as they learned that her relatives in her hometown of Tacloban in the Philippines are alive.

The Margate couple was able to speak with a family friend who confirmed that Renalyn Noworyta's mother and family survived Typhoon Haiyan, Paul Noworyta said.

They are sleeping on the streets, he said.

For the past week, the Noworytas had been relentlessly searching the Internet for news from Tacloban. They had not heard from Renalyn Noworyta's family since the typhoon hit the city.

"For me, knowing that my family is like a part of it, I want to help," she said. "I don't know, it's like I'm so far away and I can't do anything about it."

Renalyn Noworyta, who moved to Margate two years ago, said earlier that she was grateful she was safe, but wanted to know that her family members were too.

"If they're alive right now, I wish they have food, I wish they can eat," she said tearfully.

The couple found a video posted by storm chaser Jim Edds. It shows her home on stilts, which was built by her mother, being battered by the winds and rain.

"The last thing we heard on that Thursday before the storm was that her mother was going to decide to stay in the house, while the rest of the family evacuated," Paul Noworyta said. "And it worries us because the house was built over water."

In a satellite aerial photo, they were able to spot Renalyn Noworyta's home before the storm hit, but after, it's gone.

"There's nothing left and we know the tidal surge came into the downtown area and basically wiped everything out," she said.

On Facebook, one of her friends and a former neighbor were able to post pictures after being airlifted out of Tacloban.

"They say everything is washed away and there's nothing left," she said. "So I'm hoping my family evacuated as soon as possible before the hurricane hit so I don't know. I'm just kind of hoping someone will find out what happened to them and hopefully they're in good hands."

More on

Contact Us