Fil-Ams in Midwest urged to prepare for Sandy

Posted at 11/01/12 2:27 PM

MANILA, Philippines – Thousands of Filipinos living in the Midwest have been advised to prepare and monitor superstorm Sandy which is expected to dump heavy rains and strong winds in their areas.

Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. of the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. said the Consulate General in Chicago is in touch with Filipino community leaders in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.

Cuisia said Consul General Leo Herrera-Lim has advised the Filipino community in the Great Lakes region to stay indoors and avoid coastal areas due to threats posed by waves that could go as high as 20 feet.

The consul general also said that the effects of the storm are now being felt in the area and that all cargo shipping activity in Lake Michigan has come to a standstill. He said there are already reports of floods in Cleveland, Ohio.

Meanwhile, the embassy continues to monitor the situation of Filipinos in the east coast whose areas were badly hit by the storm.

The situation in New York and New Jersey has started to normalize, said Consul General Mario De Leon. However, many Filipinos are still without electricity and could not be contacted because of downed communication lines.

“We would like to call on the innate concern of Filipinos for their kapitbahay or kababayan and help each other in making it through this ordeal,” De Leon said.

On Wednesday, he visited affected Filipino neighborhoods in Jersey City, one of the hardest hit areas in New Jersey. He was accompanied by Councilman Rolando Lavarro who showed the damage caused by waist-deep floodwaters to homes and vehicles in Country Village where an estimated 2,000 Filipinos reside.

The consulate has received reports from Filipino Community leaders that the homes of some of the estimated 20,000 Filipinos in the South Jersey and Cherry Hills areas sustained some damage from the storm.

Reports of damages to property and vehicles were also reported in Suffolk County in Long Island and at least two Filipino families were also reported to have completely lost their homes in Staten Island.

“We should share power sources in our homes if we have electricity so that those in dire need can charge their mobile devices and allow them to communicate with relatives and friends here in the US and in the Philippines,” he said.

A charging station is also available at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue for Filipinos to use from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the situation normalizes.