Gov’t repatriates  Filipinos from hurricane-hit Carribean

The Philippines has deployed a five-member team to Washington D.C. to fast-track the repatriation of 136 stranded Filipinos from hurricane-hit British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said 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.

“The team will be bringing emergency relief supplies and make arrangements for repatriation of the stranded Filipinos, possibly via chartered aircraft,” Cayetano said in a statement.

“We are exerting our best efforts to reach our kababayans in the British Virgin Islands and bring them all home as soon as possible,” he said.

Cayetano noted more Filipinos have expressed their desire to be repatriated from the island after Hurricane Irma, said to be one of the most powerful storms ever in the Atlantic, swept through the Caribbean several days ago.

According to Embassy Chargé d’ Affaires Patrick Chuasoto, there are so far no Filipinos reported among the casualties of the hurricane in Florida.

The DFA chief further said the Philippine Embassy and the Honorary Consulate in Miami continue to monitor the situation in Florida and neighboring states that would be impacted by the hurricane.

He also assured that the Embassy remains in touch with leaders of the Filipino community in affected areas and continues to update relatives of those affected.

In Anguilla, BVI, and Saint 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,” he added.

Likewise, Cayetano said some Filipinos in the United States 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. (PNA)