Pinoys in US Midwest asked to prepare for 'Sandy'-A A +A
Thursday, November 1, 2012
MANILA -- Some 50,000 Filipinos in the Midwest region of the United States were advised to brace themselves for Hurricane Sandy, as it is expected to pass by the area after devastating several parts of the eastern seaboard.
The Philippine Embassy in Washington made the warning while it monitors Hurricane Sandy's track toward the Midwest. The superstorm is expected to bring heavy rains and strong winds that could affect some 50,000 Filipinos living in the area.
Even as the East Coast struggled to recover after Sandy's onslaught, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Cuisia Jr. said the Philippine Consulate General in Chicago is already in touch with Filipino communities in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana to ensure that they heed the warning about the hurricane.
"The Philippine Consulate General... were urged to ensure that their members steer themselves clear of the storm that has left in its wake more than 50 persons dead and billions of dollar in damage [in the East Coast]," Cuisia said in a statement.
The envoy added that he already advised Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim to alert the Filipino community in the Great Lakes region "to stay indoors and avoid coastal areas due to threats posed by waves that could go as high as 20 feet."
The effects of the storm is now being felt in the area as all cargo shipping activities in Lake Michigan have come to a standstill, Herrera-Lim said.
There are also already reports of flooding in some parts of Ohio.
Meanwhile, Cuisia said the Philippine Embassy in Washington and the Consulate General in New York continue to receive reports and updates on the condition of Filipinos in the areas that were badly hit by the storm.
"We continue to receive reports of Filipinos affected by floodwaters and power outages. Fortunately, there are no reports of any Filipino casualties and we hope it remains that way," the envoy said.
Situation in New York and New Jersey has started to normalize, according to Consul General Mario de Leon, "but many Filipinos are still without electricity and could not be contacted because of downed communication lines."
On Wednesday, de Leon visited affected Filipino neighborhoods in Jersey City, one of the hardest hit areas in New Jersey.
He was accompanied by Councilman Rolando Lavarro, who showed the damage caused by waist-deep floodwaters to homes and vehicles in Country Village where an estimated 2,000 Filipinos reside.
De Leon said the consulate has received reports from Filipino community leaders that the homes of some of the estimated 20,000 Filipinos in the South Jersey and Cherry Hills areas sustained some damage from the storm.
Additional reports received by the consulate also indicate more damage to the homes, property and vehicles of Filipinos in Suffolk County in Long Island, which is one of the hardest hit areas in New York.
At least two Filipino families were also reported to have completely lost their homes in Staten Island, which was also hard-hit by the storm.
De Leon, at the same time, called on members of the Filipino community to reach out to each other in the spirit of bayanihan (cooperative undertaking) to help them cope in the aftermath of the disaster.
"We would like to call on the innate concern of Filipinos for their kapitbahay or kababayan and help each other in making it through this ordeal," he said.
According to him, Filipinos can help by checking on the conditions of not only their fellow Filipinos but also of others by sharing food, water and other necessities to help alleviate their immediate concerns.
"We should share power sources in our homes if we have electricity so that those in dire need can charge their mobile devices and allow them to communicate with relatives and friends here in the US and in the Philippines,” he said.
He urged community members to inform the consulate general of their concerns so that this could be relayed to authorities for appropriate assistance. (CVB/Sunnex)