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UPDATE: Orphanage children reported safe

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 11/11/2013 9:36 am
MARIETTA, Miss. (WTVA) — UPDATE: Overnight Sunday officials here locally say they received news all of the children and adults at this orphanage are reported safe.  There is structural damage to the area including the loss of a roof.

Here's the report filed by Tyler Hill earlier Sunday:

One of the most powerful storms recorded in the central Philippines has left thousands dead and unaccounted for.

According to the latest numbers, as many as 10,000 people are believed dead in Tacloban, and the storm is affecting one group of residents in northeast Mississippi.

Nestled in the mountains of Kananga in Leyte, Philippines sits an orphanage that was created in 2011 by a group of people in Marietta.

"We've rescued 21 children, and we were able to build a home there in the mountains of Kananga," said Rosemary's Home of Hope Founder and East Marietta Baptist Church Pastor Ray Hall.

Hall said he had a vision to help after seeing the living conditions many children lived in.

"I started noticing these four and five year old children that were homeless and running the streets," he explained. "We don't experience that in America."

After enlisting the help of several churches in the community, that vision turned into reality.

It's now a fully functioning orphanage with four buildings, including living quarters, dining halls and a church.

"I started going when I was very young," said orphanage volunteer Emily White. "Ever since then, it's like going home to see family over there."

But now, things may change.

Late last week, a typhoon hit the city of Tacloban.

"I heard reports that it was gonna be stronger than Camille and stronger than Hurricane Katrina that we suffered here in Mississippi," Hall said.

The typhoon hit just 50 miles away from the orphanage.

"At that time, there's only one thing to do. It's to pray and ask God to intervene and ask for his protection," Hall said.

He said shortly before the typhoon hit, he lost all communication with his team in the Philippines.

"It's been since Thursday before the storm that I talked to my staff," he said. "They said they were trying to get everybody in shelters."

"That's been the toughest part," White said. "I think we've tried calling, emailing and 'Facebooking.' We've had nothing."

White has volunteered in various Philippine orphanages since he was 16 years old, and after hearing the news, she began to think about the children.

"I just pictured one of the little girls I'm close to there," she said. "It just broke my heart to imagine that she was scared, so just thinking about that is a horrible feeling."

At this point, the group said it's stuck in limbo.

The only airport is destroyed, therefore, they can't reach their group, but those supporting the orphanage said they're not losing hope.

"I know I can't do much, but I can love," White explained. "I can give hugs, and I can help people in anyway that I can and that's my desire."

"This is not a week process or a month process," Hall said about the relief efforts. "It will take many weeks, many months just like Hurricane Katrina, and we'll start trying to repair lives and rebuild for the future."

Hall said they'll deliver care packages as soon as they can reach the area.

If you would like to donate to the relief effort, visit
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