More than 90 Pinoys to be repatriated
OFF HURRICANE-WRECKED BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS
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.