Stuart woman survives deadly storm in Philippines

This map gives you some perspective into just how big this storm actually was.
This map gives you some perspective into just how big this storm actually was.

STUART, FL (WFLX) - A Martin County woman, trapped in the Philippines who survived Super Typhoon Haiyan, finally made contact with her family back in the United States after spending four days without communication.

Stuart resident Catarina Hodel has just flown to the Philippines when news of the storm hit airwaves.

Days later, thousands died and entire villages were leveled in a storm Hodel somehow survived. "Very, very strong winds. I was watching trees fall in front of my eyes. No power. It was scary," said Hodel.

Hodel was born in the Philippines and was visiting family while doing charity work.

Just before the storm made landfall, she made it on the last plane out of the storm ravaged area to a different island in the Philippines, landing in Bacalod City. "I feel very fortunate and lucky to be safe and to be alive," said Hodel.

The Stuart resident said power remains out, food is scarce, and it was only a few days ago when she finally learned of the devastation with most news services down.

Thousands of miles away in Florida, her mother waited desperately for news of her safety. "I think when you see something as devastating as that, I think, you have to be a positive as possible," said Diane Hodel.

Diane Hodel said it was "hope" that got her through the days of not knowing about the condition of her daughter. It is a message she is hoping others still waiting will listen to as they wait.

Catarina Hodel said the focus of her trip will now shift. She is now there to help. "I'll just do the best that I can and get on social media to urge people to reach out to the Red Cross and to help," said Hodel.

People in the Philippines are now bracing for another weather event. Forecasters have already begun to predict even more rain and wind in the already heavily damaged area.

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