Filipina jazz singer in Los Angeles feels helpless as her homeland tries to pick up the pieces

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Marco Werman: Charmaine Claymore is from the Philippines. She is a jazz singer and now lives in Los Angeles. Charmaine we’ve had you on the program before but you were talking then about how the Philippines is embedded in your music. Now you're connected to something very sad, very unpleasant. How’s this all affecting you personally?

Charmaine Claymore: Marco, it’s devastating what’s happening in the Philippines right now. And it’s hard for me to sleep at night in my comfortable bed where I can turn on the air conditioning and control the heater when my Cupabayen or brothers and sisters have nowhere to sleep or they can’t find their family. It’s heartbreaking to me and I just, I’m really grateful for my life but you know, it’s heartbreaking, Marco.

Werman: Do you have family or friends who live in the affected areas?

Claymore: I have close family friends who are there and some of our relatives already went home to make sure that they are found. Some people are missing in the remote areas. My immediate family are more north of Tacloban and you know Boll and Sibuer, the typhoon occurred.

Werman: How are they doing?

Claymore: My family are doing well. You know, we get this every year so we’re used to a typhoon but this one is just, it was unexpected, how hard it was and you know and as you know it’s the hardest typhoon we’ve had in history. There’s a sense of oh we can recover for this but then there’s a sense of desperation that it’s going to take longer than usual.

Werman: You were talking about you lying in your comfortable bed and how tough it is to process all this. Is it tough because you have lived through typhoons and know what this kind of devastation can mean or is it just tough because you're so far from home?

Claymore: It’s difficult to accept the fact that so many people are homeless. It’s, I guess it’s an emotion cord that I have for my people. I just feel for them, for their loss and their sorrow.

Werman: Charmaine, you’ve been pretty adamant on Facebook since the weekend that people who want to donate to the relief effort be cautious before giving. Why is this an important message for you to get across?

Claymore: Because people, the victims of the typhoon need the funding and our government is corrupt. We have so many corruption there.

Werman: The Filipino government?

Claymore: Yes, and I just want to make sure that the funds go directly to where it’s needed and it doesn’t get diluted.

Werman: I mean, you’re not even there, Charmaine you're in Los Angeles and yet I hear desperation in your voice.

Claymore: Yes, a whole town has been wiped away you know. They have not responded to their rural areas because it’s been difficult because of transportation problems and communication. They don’t have water. How long can a person go without water? They need help

Werman: Jazz singer Charmaine Claymore from the Philippines now living in Los Angeles. Thanks very much for speaking with us.

Claymore: Thank you, Marco.