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Typhoon hits near UI student's family

CHAMPAIGN -- A typhoon hit the Philippines Friday, possibly killing more than 10,000 people. That news put one UI student in a panic.
CHAMPAIGN -- A typhoon hit the Philippines Friday, possibly killing more than 10,000 people. That news put one UI student in a panic. As WCIA-3's Megan Brilley found, her family was right in the line of the storm.

Katie Domines immediately got on the phone to make sure her loved ones were OK. When she went to visit her family in the Philippines a few years ago, she saw houses built with bamboo. But most of that is now destroyed. A typhoon with 147 mile per hour winds and a 20 foot wall of sea water washed a lot of it away.

All Domines could do is watch the news coverage; rotting corpses in front of houses; desperate survivors scrounging for food as the storm inched toward her family's town.

"It was really close."

She got a hold of her grandma and cousins a few hours later. They had taken cover in a storm shelter and were alive.

"Thankfully they have the technology to hear about it prior to when it hit and they were able to prepare."

So she turned off the TV and took action. Domines is a part of the Philippine Student Association at the UI. Members got together and decided to make a plan.

"Just because we live somewhere else, that doesn't mean that's not where our heart is," student Grace Geremias said.

They started raising money to help children in one of the hardest hit cities. In just a matter of days they've raised nearly $3,000. It's enough to feed more than 180 kids for a year.

"It really takes an international outreach for that to happen."

Domines knows she won't be able to reach the 8 million people who need her help, but it's a start. Domines and her classmates say they're nowhere near their goal. They're reaching out to universities around the country to team up with them to help victims.

"It's just difficult to deal with. I'm really thankful that it's not my family but it just sucks that people, where I come from, are dying from this."

The American Red Cross has put up 142 evacuation centers and is housing more than 300,000 people left homeless by the storm. The Red Cross needs donations. To help, click here
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