THE Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday expressed its sympathies over the reported deaths in Texas in the wake of the Hurricane Harvey.
“We offer our deepest sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives in this disaster.
“We will continue to pray for Houston and its people,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano said in a statement issued upon his arrival from Kuala Lumpur.
“Harvey,” described as one of the most devastating storms in the history of the southern US states, triggered massive flooding in Houston and surrounding areas, left at least five persons dead and more than a dozen injured, according to the DFA.
The DFA, quoting initial reports from the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles, said none among the 80,000 Filipino community in Houston and surrounding areas has been reported to be among the dead or injured.
“Our hearts go out to the people of Houston, including the thousands of our kababayan, who have to go through this terrible ordeal,” Cayetano added.
Cayetano said the Consulate General in Los Angeles and the Honorary Consulate in Houston continue to monitor the effects of the storm, such as flooding, damage to property and power disruptions, which are expected to affect members of the Filipino community.
According to Consul General Adelio Angelito Cruz, there are approximately 70,000 members of the Filipino community in Houston, the fourth largest city in the United States; 5,000 in Rio Grande Valley; and another 5,000 in San Antonio.
Cruz said Houston-based Honorary Consul Ethel Mercado has been providing regular updates and has not reported any Filipino casualty.
He said both the Consulate General and the Honorary Consulate remain on alert as the storm, which dumped more than 26 inches of rain in Metro Houston in the past two days, is expected to trigger “catastrophic flooding” in next few days.
Cruz said Filipino nationals in the affected areas who may require assistance can call the Consulate General in Los Angeles at +1 (213) 587-0758.