While the death toll from Typhoon Haiyan was uncertain, the extensive damage (as well as loss of life) from the weekend devastation has prompted urgent calls to loved ones, and efforts from many around the world — including the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — to assist.In the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, home to one of the world’s largest Filipino Catholic populations outside the Philippines, many spent frantic hours trying to reach relatives and friends in the affected areas.“This tragedy hits home,” declared Father Rodel Balagtas, pastor of immaculate Heart of Mary Church near downtown Los Angeles, a native of the Philippines, ordained in 1991. “There is not a minute of the day that I don’t think of the people who lost their lives and those who lost their family members, properties, towns and villages.” The parish is one of many that has “done “a lot of Facebook networking with other organizations in the Southern California Filipino American Community,” Father Balagtas said. “I have parishioners from Tacloban City who for days could not contact their relatives. Thank God, no one that is a member of those families died. They just lost their homes.”Concerts, prayer vigils and other fundraising events are taking place to raise money that, as of press time, is being sent to aid the Philippines through Catholic Relief Services. Immaculate Heart of Mary Church is hosting a Prayer Rally and Concert Nov. 15, 7 p.m., featuring various Filipino-American artists in the L.A. area, with proceeds to benefit the victims of Typhoon Haiyan. At Sacred Heart School in Covina — which raised $7,000 in the archdiocesan "Hats for Haiti" effort several years ago) — two fundraising efforts to help the Philippines are scheduled next week. On Nov. 18, “Tie” Phoon Relief enables students to have free dress if they wear a crazy tie to school and offer a minimum $1 donation. From Nov. 18-21, “Pennies for the Philippines” invites each grade level to raise money for the relief efforts.Earlier estimates of 10,000-plus deaths from the typhoon were being revised downward by President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines, who told CNN that “emotional drama” had influenced the initial estimates. However, the press time figure of 2,000-2,500 deaths may likely increase.Following the Nov. 8 typhoon — which carried sustained winds of 195 miles per hour — international and local groups were poised to get aid to the worst-hit areas of the typhoon-stricken central Philippines. But the challenges of getting help to communities growing desperate for food and water went beyond just making sure roads were clear.Jesuit Brother James Lee, head of the Church That Serves the Nation, the social justice arm of the Philippine Jesuit province, said before anyone could take food and other supplies to the worst-hit areas, his organization would send someone to make sure there was a secure way that goods get to the right destination. "Because even the military cannot pass and go to different areas," Brother Lee told Catholic News Service. "They still have difficulty with communications as well as managing the people there, because they're (Filipinos) really looking for food, and they're asking the trucks (for food) and limiting their access." Brother Lee said he had heard from other nongovernmental agencies that partner with SLB, as his organization is known in the Philippines, that hungry people were demanding food in return for letting the trucks pass. About 600,000 people have been made homeless by Super Typhoon Haiyan. In one of the worst-hit cities, Tacloban, a day after the storm hit, officials said the displaced started to loot grocery stores and shopping malls, picking them clean of food, water, medicine and even goods that were not basic necessities. One Nov. 11, Pope Francis, through the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” sent an aid contribution of $150,000 to assist the population of the Philippines, devastated by Typhoon Haiyan which in particular affected the islands of Leyte and Samar.In a letter to Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, outgoing USCCB president, expressed the U.S. bishops’ “fraternal solidarity with you and your brother bishops. Together with the Catholic faithful throughout this country, we assure you of our prayers for the victims of this disaster and for the survivors as they struggle to rebuild their lives.”Catholic Relief Services is coordinating U.S. relief efforts to the Philippines. For information, visit http://emergencies.crs.org/typhoon-haiyan-help-philippines-survive-and-recover/.Mike Nelson and Catholic News Service contributed to this story.{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2013/1115/typhoon/{/gallery}