One person with Filipino blood is likely affected by Maui wildfires, says DFA
MANILA, Philippines — Only a small percentage of the population in the island of Maui in Hawaii identify themselves as Filipinos, observed Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Assistant Secretary Paul Cortes.
But he said it is probable that at least one person with Filipino blood may have been affected by the wildfires.
Cortes made this statement in an interview over radio DZBB on Monday.
He explained there are 388,000 individuals in the state of Hawaii who say they are Filipinos.
Out of this number, only 200,000 say they are pure-blooded Filipinos.
The assistant secretary cited data from United States’ 2020 census.
DFA has yet to determine how many Filipinos were affected by the catastrophe in Maui.
“[Kaunti] lamang [sa] mga kababayan natin in the state of Hawaii are Philippine passport holders or just plain green card holders,” Cortes noted.
(Only a few of our fellow Filipinos in the state of Hawaii are Philippine passport holders or just plain green card holders.)
“Pero kung susumahin natin na there were thousands missing, who lost their homes and lost their businesses, ay likelihood or the probability ay at least isa [dyan] ay Philippine blood,” he said.
“But if we will sum up that there were thousands missing, who lost their homes and lost their businesses, the likelihood or the probability is that at least one of them has Filipino blood.)
Forest fires started spreading in Maui on August 8.
The tragedy has claimed the lives of 93 persons while thousands were forced to evacuate.
According to Cortes, wildfires are “not very common” in Hawaii.
He said it is “difficult to imagine that something like this can happen to a little paradise on earth.”
In a statement on Monday, DFA said, as of August 12, there is no information yet if there are Filipinos affected by the wildfires.
It also said Philippine Consulate General in Honolulu is in touch with local authorities and is monitoring the situation.
DFA is advising Filipinos in the Philippines and elsewhere, who have family members and relatives in Maui, to give information to the department.
“Kung meron [silang] kamag anak na mga kababayan natin sa Hawaii na nawalan ng contact [after ng wildfire], kontakin kami sa amin Facebook page,” DFA Undersecretary Eduardo De Vega made the request in an interview over Radyo 630.
(If they have relatives who are our fellow Filipinos in Hawaii, who have lost contact after the wildfire, contact us through our Facebook page.)
“Meron po kaming Facebook page sa DFA. Ang pangalan ay OFW Help,” he said.
(We have a Facebook page at DFA. The name is OFW Help.)
“Pwede rin po nilang kontakin ang ating konsulado. May emergency hotline ‘yan: +18082539446,” he added.
(They can also contact our consulate. It has an emergency hotline: +18082539446)