IT WAS just two short months ago when Minda Goard’s world was plunged into chaos.
The Armidale woman had just called her sister on the tiny, typhoon-hit Panay Island in the Philippines.
In the frenetic final seconds of the call, Ms Goard heard the chilling screams of her sister before the phone cut out.
Ms Goard – who is Filipino-born and whose mother, five sisters and brother live on the island – was convinced her family had perished in Typhoon Haiyan, a natural disaster that killed 6000 people in the Philippines alone.
Four days after that fateful phone call, Ms Goard received the message she feared would never come – her family was safe.
What followed was a community fundraiser from the people of Armidale, including a benefit concert, that raised $4000 – enough to put the roof back on Ms Goard’s elderly mother’s home and provide months of food for the rest of her village.
Ms Goard said she was stunned by the generosity of the community, with some people even walking up to her on the street and handing her money.