Fil-Ams face darkness, cold after superstorm

By Jon Carlos Rodriguez,

Posted at Oct 31 2012 12:01 AM | Updated as of Oct 31 2012 10:34 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) – A Filipino living in Washington, D.C. said some residents of Virginia and Maryland are struggling with the cold weather brought by superstorm “Sandy”.

“This temperature, coupled with rain and strong winds, make it really cold this time. Hindi pa winter dito but that’s how we feel at this time and we would like to believe it is much colder in some areas like Virginia, where there has been blizzards,” Stephen Manangan told ANC’s “Prime Time” on Tuesday.

Manangan said residents living in areas where electricity has been cut are struggling with the cold weather due to the lack of heaters.

“We have heaters, wala namang shut out sa kuryente so we’re glad na mayroon kaming heater dito. Pero in some areas, like Virginia and Maryland, unfortunately, wala silang kuryente kaya wala din silang heater,” he said.

He added that some of the elderly living in areas without electricity have been evacuated to elderly care centers, which are backed up by generators.

Manangan also said residents are still advised by the city government to stay indoors.

“Lahat ng mga federal agencies and schools are still closed. Walang trabaho sa area na ito,” he said.

“’Yung hampas ng hangin kasing lakas ng sa hurricane Irene, pero may time na mas malakas pa siya,” Manangan said.

The storm has left at least 16 people dead in US and Canada. Authorities said the number is expected to climb further as several people were still reported missing.

The storm's wrath also left millions of residents without electricity.

Search and rescue in New York

Meanwhile, the city of New York is now in “search and rescue” mode following the devastation brought by “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.

De Leon said that in Manhattan, floods and saltwater caused damage to several power stations, leaving millions without electricity.

“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.