More than 90 Pi­noys to be repa­tri­ated

OFF HUR­RI­CANE-WRECKED BRI­TISH VIR­GIN IS­LANDS

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Stories -

THE Philip­pine Em­bassy in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. has sent a team to Puerto Rico to de­liver sup­plies and fa­cil­i­tate the repa­tri­a­tion of Filipinos from the hur­ri­cane-rav­aged Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands.

In a state­ment posted on its of­fi­cial Face­book page Sun­day, the Em­bassy said more than 90 Filipinos have en­listed for repa­tri­a­tion. They will be brought di­rectly to the Philip­pines.

“More than 90 kababayans have al­ready en­listed for repa­tri­a­tion due to the con­tin­ued hard­ships they face in get­ting ne­ces­si­ties and medicines,” said Min­is­ter Pa­trick A. Chua­soto, Em­bassy Chargé d’Af­faires.

The Em­bassy said the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands (BVI) hosts an es­ti­mated 264 Filipinos who are mostly in the med­i­cal, ac­count­ing and con­struc­tion sec­tors.

Hur­ri­cane Irma, then a Cat­e­gory 5 storm with sus­tained winds of more than 200 kilo­me­ters per hour, roared through St. Barts, St. Martin, An­guilla and the BVI, leav­ing 22 peo­ple dead, mostly in the Lee­ward Is­lands.

“Our team will enter the BVI as soon as con­di­tions al­low for in­bound travel to the ter­ri­tory. In the mean­time, they are work­ing closely with the Filipino lead­ers and rel­e­vant agen­cies in Puerto Rico and the BVI to fa­cil­i­tate the one-way jour­ney of our kababayans from the BVI to the Philip­pines,” Chua­soto stated.

The Em­bassy said its re­sponse team ar­rived in Puerto Rico on Sun­day (lo­cal time) and im­me­di­ately started co­or­di­nat­ing with the Filipino com­mu­nity and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

Irma has re­gained strength to a Cat­e­gory 4 storm as it closed in on the is­land chain known as the Florida Keys, the US Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter said early Sun­day.

The storm was churn­ing about 115 kilo­me­ters south-south­east of Key West, men­ac­ing Florida with max­i­mum sus­tained winds of 130 miles (210 kilo­me­ters) per hour.

Its eye was ex­pected to cross the Lower Florida Keys within hours be­fore mov­ing “near or along” the penin­su­lar state’s west coast, where it threat­ened storm surges of up to 15 feet (4.6 me­ters) — enough to cover a house.

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