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Filipinos in east coast told: Danger not over yet

SANDY’S DAMAGE. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. with Defense and Armed Forces Attache Brig. Gen. Cesar Yano and Police Attache Chief Supt. Armand Ramolete inspect a vehicle parked near the Philippine Embassy that was crushed by a tree felled by strong winds on Monday evening as they assessed the extent of the damage left by Hurricane Sandy in Washington D.C. (Philippine Embassy Photo by Elmer G. Cato)

WASHINGTON D.C. – Filipinos caught in the path of superstorm Sandy have been told to remain vigilant and continue taking precautions as the danger posed by one of the more devastating storms to hit the United States is not yet over.

In a statement released by the Philippine Embassy, Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said that although Sandy has weakened since making landfall on Monday evening it still continues to bring rains and strong winds that could pose serious threats to populated areas while it makes its way towards Canada in the next two days.

“Sandy is a disaster still ongoing,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he appealed to the Filipino Community to make sure that none of the estimated 460,000 Filipinos in the East Coast will end up in the casualty count that is currently pegged at 46 dead.
“We would like to remind our kababayans, particularly those in New Jersey and New York, to remain in their homes until such time that authorities say that it is safe for them to venture out,” Ambassador Cuisia said, warning that affected populations face risks from floodwaters and downed trees and power lines.

He said members of the Filipino Community in the affected areas should wait until basic services such as power and transport have been restored before leaving the safety of their homes.

The Philippine Embassy and the Philippine Consulate General in New York said they do not have the exact figures on the number of Filipinos directly affected by Sandy but they have received reports that some Filipinos were evacuated in Atlantic City, Jersey City, New Milford and other areas in New Jersey as well as in City Island and Staten Island in New York due to floodwaters.

Consul General Mario de Leon said reports from the leaders of the Filipino Community also indicate that a large number of Filipinos are among the 8.5 million people in 13 states who are currently without electricity.

He said there are also reports that several Filipinos sustained some damage to their homes in Nassau and Queens counties in New York as well as in Hamden and Stamford in Connecticut as a result of violent winds and storm surges.

Consul General De Leon said some Filipinos in Connecticut and Long Island were also reported to be running low on potable water while many others in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut have no internet, telephone or cellular phone connectivity.
The Embassy and the Consulate General in New York continue to monitor the situation on a 24-hour-basis and have placed teams on standby to assist Filipinos who may have been caught in the middle of the storm.  The two posts also remain in touch with leaders of the Filipino community in the affected areas to check on the situation of Filipinos there.

The Philippine Consulate General in Chicago headed by Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim has also started alerting the Filipino Community in Ohio and Michigan and urged them to make the necessary preparations as the storm continues to move towards the Great Lakes region and Canada

The Embassy said that unlike New York and New Jersey, Washington appeared to have been spared from the violent effects of Sandy and operations in the US capital are expected to resume on Wednesday after a suspension of two days. The situation in New York is expected to normalize only after several days.

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