Typhoon Haiyan: I should be by my wife's side

Tacloban Survivors walk through the ruined streets of the city of Tacloban in Leyte province

As the international aid effort gets under way to help the millions affected in the Philippines by Typhoon Haiyan, the families of the people who are missing are desperately seeking news of their loved ones.

In the UK, Andrew Heys is searching for news of his wife Lanicar, who lived with her family in the Philippines while waiting for her UK visa to be approved.

She was in the city of Tacloban in Leyte province when Typhoon Haiyan hit - one of the worst-affected areas.

For the moment, all Andrew can do is wait in his home near Leicester and hope for good news.

"I have not heard anything at all from Lanicar since the typhoon hit on Thursday night.

Lanicar Heys Lanicar lived with her family in Tacloban while waiting for her UK visa

"I've contacted the Red Cross by email and haven't heard anything back, but I suppose they are just so busy trying to locate people.

"I managed to speak with her cousin who lives in Cebu city, but it's the same in the Philippines as it is here - no-one can get in touch with Tacloban.

"Lanicar is still a Filipino citizen, so the UK Embassy can't help.

Badly affected

"We only married on 26 September, so we've only been married a month.

"Lanicar is a paediatric nurse and was going through the visa application process to get here to the UK.

"It's a very difficult and time-consuming process and she is living with her family in Tacloban while we go through it. We speak on the internet every day.

"Her father died a year ago and she went with her family to the island of Biliran where her father lived to be there for the anniversary.

"Her mother and one of her brothers are on this small island and I would imagine they have been badly affected also.

"Lanicar returned to Tacloban on Thursday with her brother and aunt, but because they had been away to a remote area for such an emotional event they weren't aware of the typhoon alerts.

Lanicar and Andrew Heys on their wedding day Lanicar and Andrew on their wedding day in September, pictured with her aunt and uncle

"We knew that Tacloban would lose power as the government had said there would be a power outage due to the concern of flooding.

"I was speaking with her on the internet until the power went down on Thursday, and we were prepared for that.

"But we weren't expecting the devastation caused by the typhoon to be this horrific.

"Now the news just gets worse and worse.

'It's so difficult'

"I'm seeing footage on the TV constantly showing areas that I know are just streets away from her home.

"Lanicar is strong and highly intelligent and I am sure she will be very resourceful for her family.

"She is a wonderful woman who is admired and loved by everyone who knows her.

"I am the luckiest man on earth to have her in my life.

"I should be by her side now, whatever the conditions there.

"I'm on the brink of getting on a plane to Cebu city and seeing if I can get across to Tacloban on a boat.

"It's so difficult to know what to do. Would I be allowed to do that?

"And once I got there, would I just be another mouth to feed?"

More UK stories


Features & Analysis

  • Abdi Nor IftinGolden ticket

    How a refugee entered a lottery and won a new life in the US

  • Herring in a fur coatMerry herring

    How fish 'in a fur coat' is enough to make Russia's New Year happy

  • Curiosity Self Portrait at Windjana Drilling SiteIn pictures

    The most stunning space photos of the year

  • Amy Adams, Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock and Dame Judi DenchFilm quiz of 2014

    How much do you remember about the past 12 months?

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • BooksHidden messages

    Adults often find surprising subtexts in children’s literature – but are they really there?


  • Click presenter Spencer Kelly flies a droneClick Watch

    From wearable technology to drones and robots - highlights from 2014

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.