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Typhoon Haiyan: Could mystery man on tape be Tacloban patriarch of 30 missing?

November 14, 2013 -- Updated 0111 GMT (0911 HKT)
A man bearing a striking resemblance to 68-year-old Rogelio Tan was seen in a four-second clip on a GMA video posted to Pinoyechannel. A man bearing a striking resemblance to 68-year-old Rogelio Tan was seen in a four-second clip on a GMA video posted to Pinoyechannel.
Is this man missing uncle?
Prayers in Tacloban church
Rogelio Tan in a family photo
Family of 30 missing after storm
The faces of those still lost
No sign of missing family
  • Elderly man seen on Filipino news channel could be missing uncle
  • Daisy Nemeth's sister saw him in a quick shot during a news report, posted online
  • Nemeth has been looking for 30 members of her family missing since the typhoon hit Tacloban
  • Nothing was heard from them for days after Super Typhoon Haiyan hit on Friday

Hong Kong (CNN) -- The image lasts just four seconds, flashed on the screen during the opening sequence of a Filipino news program posted online.

It's of an elderly man kneeling on a church pew, his lips moving as though in prayer, and it's given new hope to a woman in Hong Kong who hasn't heard from 30 members of her family since Super Typhoon Haiyan smashed into Tacloban in the Philippines last Friday.

READ: 30 members of one family missing after storm

"We think this is my uncle! They look identical!" Daisy Nemeth wrote in an email to CNN, after receiving an overnight message from her sister, Merceditas Tan Østergaard, in Denmark, who's been scanning online news in the hope of seeing a familiar face.

And there it was.

The lone, elderly man in silent prayer bears a striking resemblance to 68-year-old Rogelio Tan, the patriarch of the sprawling Tan family who all but disappeared during the storm.

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CNN reporters in Tacloban on the relief effort
Mayor of Tacloban's story of survival

READ: Food reaches the Philippines, but not the hungry

"She was staring at the video clips and he was there in one of them. But his wife wasn't and his children weren't," Nemeth said from her home in Hong Kong, her joy of seeing her uncle tempered by the thought of those who weren't there, or couldn't be seen.

The family recognizes the church as the Santo Niño Church de Tacloban, a distinctive pink Roman Catholic Church just one block from the coast where a devastating storm surge swept in, killing hundreds, if not thousands of people.

The church withstood the storm, though its towering spire has been stripped of its roofing, as has most of the main building. Yet, it was there that the man suspected to be Tan can be seen praying, as he has done countless times before. His family lived just streets away.

READ: President: Death toll closer to 2,500

The possible reappearance of her uncle four days after the typhoon was not the only news raising Nemeth's hopes that more relatives can be found.

On the same day, it emerged her cousin Hazel Tan and her five children, aged between nine and 19, had made it out of the storm. Nemeth has no idea how or where they are, but a family member passed on the news that they're safe and have since left Tacloban.

Nemeth says she expected to feel elation after finding some members of her missing family, but days of worry have left her emotionally exhausted.

"You think about what's going to happen when you find them, that it's going to be relief and joy and happiness and it wasn't," she said. "I checked them off the list and moved onto my uncle. And now I've checked him off the list, now I'm moving on to someone else. There's so much going on, feeling relief is impossible in this situation."

Her thoughts have now turned to her other cousin, Rogelio Tan Jr., his wife Vanessa, and their three young children, aged from four to eight years old.

Still missing: Rogelio Tan Jr.'s children  Still missing: Rogelio Tan Jr.'s children
Still missing: Rogelio Tan Jr.'s childrenStill missing: Rogelio Tan Jr.'s children

READ: Typhoon survivors fight to protect children

The Super Typhoon hit the Philippines coast just before 5 a.m. last Friday, flattening buildings, swamping homes and businesses with flood water and leaving a trail of destruction authorities and locals are still trying to comprehend.

"I'm so tired at this point. I'm not negative about the situation but whatever happens, happens, at this point," Nemeth said.

"But I want the kids out. The thought of them living with bodies lining the streets -- it's pure misery there,"

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