Palace urges Filipinos in Florida

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - World -

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.”

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