• Gastonia woman desperate to talk to family after typhoon in Philippines

    By: Dave Faherty

    Updated:

    GASTONIA, N.C. - "Every time I call it is like the subscriber can't be reached," said Erlenie Dawson, who is desperate to hear news from loved ones in the Philippines on Friday night.

    The eye of the powerful Category 5 super typhoon passed just 20 miles from her parents' home near Taclobon City.

    "I just want to hear that they are alive. I want them to be alive," said Dawson.

    Dawson said it was 4:30 p.m. on Thursday when she last talked with her father, who lives more than 8,000 miles from her Gastonia home.

    She said she could already hear the wind in the background on the phone, and she urged her family to find better shelter.

    Dawson shared photos of her mother, grandmother and aunt, as well as a picture of her father holding a niece.

    She said her family and many others in the Philippines were unaware that Typhoon Haivan had intensified into one of the most powerful storms ever recorded, with sustained winds of 190 mph.

    "They do not have any idea. They do not have any idea how strong the winds are," said Dawson.

    At her Gaston County home on Friday night, Dawson was surrounded by her two daughters and her husband, praying the phone rings with news that everyone is safe.

    "The whole family has got to be here. Especially the little girls – got to keep mommy happy don't you?" said her husband David.

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