A FILIPINO nurse whose family has been struck by earthquake and typhoon in the space of three weeks says she feels powerless to help them.

Maria Granaderos, 43, is a healthcare assistant at Southend Hospital who helped organise a clothes collection following the earthquake three weeks ago which killed hundreds of people – including two of her cousins - on Boracay Island in the Philippines.

Her parents Cornelio and Bienvinida, 68 and 78, survived the quake and their home was not destoyed like many others’ but have resorted to sleeping in a tent outside their home each night, fearing for their lives, as daily aftershocks continue to hit the house.

Cracks have continued to appear and the kitchen wall has been almost completely destroyed. It is in these conditions the family endured high winds and heavy rain when Typhoon Haiyan struck the islands on Friday but Maria said, despite her parents being some of the ‘lucky ones’, she still felt powerless to help them.

She said: “I’m so lucky theirs isn’t one of the houses that has been knocked down but they are so scared of the aftershocks and are still suffering hardships. It’s difficult for them because they are nearly 70 and 80 and not well but it’s hard for me, too, because I feel so helpless.”

Maria has lived in the UK for ten years and said she would like to be with her family during the crisis but that, with the cost of travel being so high, she would prefer to send the money instead.

Her cousins Ednard and Edlyn Granaderos, in their early 20s and 30s, were killed during the original earthquake after becoming trapped in their home. “It’s been traumatic,” Maria said. “My brother is still a bit shaken. He’s on his own rescuing my parents every time there’s an aftershock. They haven’t fully recovered yet.”