“Good afternoon everyone. I would like to give you the following updates on Hurricane Irma: We are dispatching more personnel to fast track the repatriation of more than a hundred Filipinos displaced in the Caribbean and assist those in the United States who would be affected by Hurricane Irma.
|Hurricane Irma evacuees use flashlights at the Hampton Inn and |
Suites in Estero, FloridaPhoto Credit: Los Angeles Times
A five-member team from the Office of Migrant Workers Affairs led by Undersecretary Sarah Lou Arriola is en route to Washington, D.C. to oversee the rescue and repatriation of some 136 Filipinos stranded in the British Virgin Islands. Four personnel from the Philippine consulates general in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Chicago will also be joining the team from the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. that is now in Puerto Rico waiting for the go-signal to proceed to Tortola. The team will be bringing emergency relief supplies and make arrangements for repatriation of the stranded Filipino, possibly via chartered aircraft.
We are exerting our best efforts to reach our kababayans in the British Virgin Islands and bring them all home as soon as possible.
More Filipinos have expressed their desire to be repatriated from the island after Hurricane Irma, said to be one of the most powerful storms in the Atlantic, swept through the Caribbean several days ago.
According to Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Patrick Chuasoto said there are so far no Filipinos reported among the casualties of Hurricane Irma in Florida, which has claimed The Embassy and the Honorary Consulate in Miami continue to monitor the situation in Florida and neighboring states that would be impacted by Hurricane Irma.
The Embassy remains in touch with leaders of the Filipino Community in affected areas and continues to update relatives of those affected and the public on ongoing efforts to assist affected kababayans.
May I also commend our kababayans for keeping the bayanihan spirit alive and well in the midst the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean and the United States. Many of our kababayans have taken the initiative to reach out to their neighbors, coworkers and friends and open the doors of their homes, share provisions, medicines and even wifi access. We are heartened to hear all about these gestures that truly prove that the spirit of bayanihan is still very much alive along our kababayans wherever they are in the world.
In Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands and Sint Maarten, which are among the worst affected territories in the region, the Filipino communities have proceeded to organize and assess the needs of their members, and coordinate aid efforts with the Philippine Embassies in Washington, DC and The Hague in the Netherlands. Filipinos in Puerto Rico are also active in assisting the response team from the Embassy in gathering the supplies and finding ways to transport them to kababayans in the British Virgin Islands.
Some Filipinos in the US and Canada have also signified their desire to help in the aftermath of the hurricane's anticipated onslaught in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas by planning fund and relief drives”
- - Department of Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano