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Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts spring up in D.C. area

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WASHINGTON (WJLA) - The rescue efforts in the Philippines as the nation begins to pick up the pieces after Typhoon Haiyan, lots of people in the D.C. metro area are waiting and hoping for word on loved ones.

As they wait, local activists are mobilizing relief efforts for the thousands of people cut off due to the massive storm, which many believe has killed upwards of 10,000 people.

For Jannette Branscomb, who has been desperately trying to contact their elderly parents, the wait was agonizing until she got a glimmer of hope from Tacloban City, one of the hardest hit regions. She finally got word that her cousin had walked six hours from another town to pick them up.

Both Jovita and Charles Branscomb are said to be doing OK, but in poor health. The Branscombs believe that their situation is precarious until they can get out of the typhoon-ravaged area.

"It's hard...no sleep," Janette said. "(You're) just sitting around, waiting, hoping that I would hear something...any sign that they are OK."

While she and her family clung to hope, they're haunted by the images of devastation and death coming out of the country.

As she and many others wait, others with links to the region are mobilizing to launch relief efforts and fund raisers. In Fairfax, a group of people gathered with a plan to appeal to Asian performers to put on a benefit concert.

Christian Oh, one of the organizers, hopes to put together "some sort of fundraiser" to help, in some way, to offset the disaster.

Elsewhere, the Migrant Heritage Commission is planning an all-day fundraiser for Nov. 17 at St. Michael's Catholic Church in Silver Spring. The group will provide free medical screenings and legal consultations for immigrants between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The group will also hold a fitness program that afternoon and a dinner/dance from 6 to 11 p.m. The church will also hold a prayer mass for the victims of Haiyan at 5 p.m.

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