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11 September 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Embassy Response Team entered the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and met with the Filipino community there today, Minister Patrick A. Chuasoto, Chargé d’Affaires of the Philippine Embassy, reported to Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter S. Cayetano.

The primary mission of the Response Team is to alleviate the suffering of kababayans reeling from the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, which slammed into the BVI and other islands in the Caribbean last week. The Philippine Government’s assistance is mainly in the form of providing basic supplies to and facilitating the repatriation of affected Filipino nationals in the British overseas territory.

To date, there are 135 kababayans in the BVI who have requested repatriation assistance from the Philippine Government. The Philippine Embassy clarified that those who volunteer to be repatriated will be directly brought to the Philippines.

As directed by Secretary Cayetano, the Embassy also dispatched a second two-member Response Team to provide logistical and administrative support from Puerto Rico. Additional teams are on stand-by in case there is a need for additional deployment in Puerto Rico or other areas. The extent of the damage in the Caribbean region is gradually becoming clear as more areas become accessible to the outside world.

In the meantime, Dr. Henry B. Howard, the Philippine Honorary Consul in Florida, reported that “kababayan communities in Pensacola, Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale have largely dodged the bullet known as ‘Hurricane Irma’”. Filipino leaders in Tampa also said that the storm caused less damage than what was anticipated. So far, the Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the Honorary Consulate in Florida has not received any report of Filipino casualty resulting from Irma’s crossing across the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean and the US third largest state.

Downgraded to a tropical storm, Irma is making its way to Alabama after passing directly over the coast of southern Georgia. The latest projections indicate that Irma will weaken to the point of being a tropical depression by tomorrow, Tuesday, 12 September 2017. However, it is still expected to bring rains to central Georgia, eastern Alabama and southern South Carolina.

The Philippine Embassy reiterates its advice to the Filipinos in the southeastern part of the United States to exercise extra precautions, heed the orders and warnings of state and local authorities, and monitor weather bulletins for updates.

Those who want to share or find information about the condition of their family members and friends in the abovementioned places may reach the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. through the following contact information: