Stay indoors, Palace urges Filipinos in Florida

MALACAÑANG urged Saturday the Filipino community in Florida, USA to remain safe to ensure their safety by staying indoors and avoiding "unnecessary" travels as Hurricane Irma is expected to make a landfall over the weekend.

Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), through the Honorary Consulate in Miami, was closely monitoring the situation in Florida.

"Members of the Filipino community have been advised to stay indoors, avoid unnecessary travels, and check the latest weather advisories and bulletins from government websites," Abella said in a statement read over state-run dzRB.

The United States National Hurricane Center said Irma can inflict potentially catastrophic damage in areas along its path.

Hurricane Irma made landfall on Cuba late Friday night as a Category 5 storm, with maximum winds of 160 miles per hour. Irma comes a week after Hurricane Harvey caused massive flooding in Houston.

The hurricane is forecast to hit Florida, which is home to over 150,000 Filipinos.

DFA Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano said Thursday that he already alerted the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C., the Philippine Embassy in Mexico, the Philippine Honorary Consulates in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to monitor the storm.

"We have seen how Hurricane Irma has been gathering strength in the past few days," Cayetano said. "Our fellow countrymen in Florida and the Caribbean must heed the warnings of experts and take the necessary precautions to ensure their safety." (SunStar Philippines)
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