MANILA, Philippines – The city of New York is now in “search and rescue” mode following the devastation brought by superstorm “Sandy”, the Philippine consulate in New York said on Tuesday.
Philippine Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. said city officials in Manhattan have began clearing the streets of debris and floodwater triggered by heavy rains and winds.
“Dito sa New York, naka-search and rescue mode ang local government. Nililinis nila lahat ng kalye, siguro nakita naman ng mga kababayan natin sa mga footages ‘yung baha, may sunog pa nga na nangyari sa kasagsagan ng malalakas na hangin,” de Leon told “Bandila”.
De Leon said they have yet to receive any report of Filipinos who were killed or injured during the storm.
“So far wala pa naman and we hope wala na sana. Pero itong araw na ito palang natin nakikita ang lawak ng damage,” he said.
He also said the Philippine consulate is coordinating with the Office of Migrant Affairs, hospitals, and emergency management agencies to determine if anyone from the Filipino community was hurt.
De Leon said that because of downed power and communication lines, they had to turn to social media to check on the Filipino community in several areas that were badly-hit by the storm.
“We wanted to know kung kamusta ang mga kababayan natin,” he said.
Hurricane Sandy made landfall in southern New Jersey Tuesday morning (Manila time), bringing with it hurricane-force wind gusts.
“Ang karamihan ng mga Filipino doon ay safe at accounted for kaya lang walang power at may mga intensive damage to property. At ‘yung isang malaking problema nila doon ay potable water,” said de Leon.
Millions living in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are still without electricity.
De Leon said that in Manhattan, floods and saltwater caused damage to several power stations.
“It may take days before ma-restore ‘yan,” he said.
However, de Leon noted that the weather has improved in New York, adding that residents in Manhattan are already out on the streets to assess the damage.
Sandy left at least 16 people dead in US and Canada.