‘Irma’-affected Pinoys face repatriation
The Department of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday said it would repatriate more than 200 Filipinos from several islands in the Caribbean that were devastated by Hurricane ‘‘Irma.’’
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, said response teams dispatched by the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC are now on the ground in the British Virgin Islands and are en route to the US Virgin Islands to assist Filipino victims of the typhoon.
‘‘There are now as many as 236 of our kababayans from various parts of the Caribbean who have asked to be repatriated,’’ Cayetano said.
‘‘We assure them that we will bring all of them home,’’ he added.
Citing the latest report from the Embassy, Cayetano said from 160 to 180 Filipinos are waiting to be repatriated from the British Virgin Islands, 20 from Anguilla, and another 36 from St. Martin.
Cayetano said the Embassy, which is overseeing the repatriation effort, is currently planning to charter an aircraft to transport the stranded Filipinos to Manila.
"We hope that all the logistical and administrative requirements would be arranged soon so we could start repatriating our kababayans by Monday," Cayetano said.
The secretary said he was informed by Embassy Chargé d'Affaires Patrick Chuasoto that the two-member response team dispatched from Washington is now in Tortola to make arrangements for the repatriation.
The team has also started to distribute food community in the affected areas.
Cayetano said a second response team is en route to St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands to bring relief supplies to a group of Filipino teachers who have requested the Embassy for assistance.
He said another team is on standby for deployment to Anguilla where they will assist in the repatriation of 20 Filipinos affected by the hurricane.
The Embassy is also coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in The Hague for the repatriation of 36 Filipinos from Saint Martin.
In the Turks and Caicos, the Embassy said it is monitoring the condition of a Filipino who suffered serious injuries after he fell while clearing debris at his workplace.
In Florida, members of the Filipino community in Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale were spared from Hurricane Irma's wrath.
There were also no reports of any Filipino casualties in Georgia, which was also affected by the hurricane.