NO FILIPINO casualties have been reported so far in the magnitude 6.2 earthquake in Italy that killed at least 159 people and reduced three Italian central towns to rubble Wednesday.
The Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (Owwa) officer in Italy, Hector Cruz, said a number of Filipinos near the towns affected have evacuated to Perugia, Italy and are now resting.
The earthquake rocked Italy at 3:36 a.m. Wednesday while people were still in slumber. The temblor was felt across a broad swath of central Italy, including Rome, where residents woke to a long swaying followed by aftershocks.
As of last count, 159 people were reported killed but the number of dead and missing was uncertain given the thousands of vacationers in the area for summer's final days.
There are 170,000 Filipinos in Italy based on latest government statistics.
Cruz, in a televised interview, said they were already in Amatrice for an ocular of Filipinos affected, but no one was reported as casualty or have suffered injuries.
Asked to describe the situation in the said town, Cruz said Amatrice is "totally damaged and half of the town was flattened."
The officer has encouraged Filipinos in the Philippines to call the Philippine Embassy in Rome or the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in the Philippines for contact numbers and addresses of families and relatives who may be in areas most affected.
These are the tiny towns of Amatrice and Accumoli near Rieti, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) northeast of Rome, and Pescara del Tronto, some 25 kilometers further east.
"Although mahirap po talaga makontak ang mga mahal sa buhay lalo po sa area na 'to pero magbigay alam po tayo sa Owwa at DFA kung saan ang lugar at contact details ay maibigay po sa amin para kami na po ang bahalang makipag-ugnayan," Cruz said.
The Embassy of the Philippines in Rome, Italy, has likewise issued an advisory for Filipinos in Italy, especially in Umbria, Lazio and Marche, to contact government authorities for assistance.
The Italian government has also provided numbers for immediate assistance: 800840840 (Italy National Civil Protection) and 803555 (Italy Operations Centers of the Civil Protection in Lazio).
The Philippine Embassy may also be contacted at its number 328-690-7613. (VLA/Sunnex/AP)