Hastings man Ezra Morley has been able to make e-mail contact with his parents Anthony and Liz after arriving in Manila from the typhoon-ravaged district of Tacloban on the island of Leyte in the Philippines.

The 19-year-old was eight months into a two-year posting to a mission run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints when the typhoon struck. While he had been able to shelter with others in what his parents said was a structurally strong chapel he did not emerge from the experience entirely unscathed.

Mr Morley said he was not surprised to hear that, as his son was the sort of person who would step in and do what he could to help people.

"He sustained a couple of minor injuries from flying debris while trying to rescue some children and injured parents but he's fine."


The teenage missionary also got bitten by a snake while walking back to the chapel at night after spending the day helping people who had lost their homes. He described the immediate area to his parents as "totally wiped out".

"He was very sad to be leaving the area and seeing the suffering of the locals he had come to love," Mr Morley said. "But we are relieved that he is in a safer place now and look forward to a call - maybe tonight."

Mr Morley said the family were also pleased that church humanitarian aid had reached Leyte.

Ezra had followed in his parents' footsteps by taking up a missionary posting and in preparation had travelled to a missionary training centre in Utah, where he learned some rudimentary Cebuano dialect used in the Philippines.

"He now speaks three dialects," Mr Morley said.

He expects his son to return to complete his missionary posting to Tacloban when the time is right.